CANTON, N.Y. -- RB Lawrence has owned his small private ambulance company for decades. He says can't even remember an employee being injured before.
So when he was awakened by his operations manager Wednesday night, he knew it was bad news.
"It's just like, ah, pardon the expression, I could just throw up at any moment in time," Lawrence said. "They were more than employees. It's not just an employee, employer relationship. It's friends and family. We've been together."
Lawrence says two of those friends -- those family members -- Rod Cota and Gregg Williams, were coming back from bringing a patient to a hospital in Syracuse. The ambulance they were driving quit in Pulaski. Another employee, friend and family member, Cory Moore, grabbed a company car to go pick them up.
Shortly after, they struck that jack-knifed milk tanker.
"It's just like an empty, what has happened? Wake me up from this nightmare. It couldn't have happened. But it did," Lawrence said.
Cota and Moore had been with RB Lawrence for most of its existence. Williams was a more recent adddition, but was considered family just the same.
That's much like the man in the second car that hit the tanker.
Dr. Moonjohn Kim was a radiologist at Samaritan Medical Center. He didn't see the truck, either. He leaves behind not only the Samaritan community, but a wife and three young children.
"Over and over again, we'd hear from patients about not only his skill, which was tremendous, but how compassionate, how caring, how kind he was. We'd hear that over and over again," Samaritan Medical Center Spokesperson Krista Kittle said.
Both organizations are appreciative of the support from everyone who's reached out. Both are also looking to honor the four men the best way they know how.
"Knowing those guys, they'd want us to continue on. We're going to try to pull up our boot straps, see if we can get our waders on and muddle through this somehow. It's not going to be easy," Lawrence said.
There will be a chance for this community to honor them and help their families in the way communities know how. That's still being discussed and planned.