Biting cold January wind, a dark forest and fear of the unknown.

If Denise Swithers had let any of those factors stand in her way, the outcome for another young woman, Anna, the victim of a car crash on Route 29 in Hunlock Township might have been grim. Instead, today, Anna Sholtis and her mother, Kay, refer to Swithers as their “Angel Lady”.

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Wonder Woman: Benco Dental Senior Customer Experience Specialist Denise Swithers rescued an accident victim in distress.

A sudden turn of to an otherwise calm night

A Senior Customer Experience Specialist at Benco Dental’s home office since June, 2000, Swithers was pajama-clad and cozy, watching late-night TV, when she heard a loud bang outside her home and thought someone driving past had collided with an animal.

“We live along Route 29 in Hunlock Creek, so a deer crossing the road is quite common.”

Not the case on January 8.

“I ran onto our enclosed front porch, but I didn’t see anything out the front window. As I was passing the side window, I noticed the flashing red tail lights in the woods. When I opened the front door, I could hear screaming,” said Swithers, 53.

Swithers ran to change into warmer clothing and in the process, woke her husband David, who immediately called 911 for emergency assistance. In the meantime, Swithers, cell phone in hand, rushed outside to investigate.

“It scared me that everything was now quiet. I started calling out when I got halfway across the street. When a woman’s voice responded, I identified myself and told her that help was on the way,” said Swithers.

The hero presses on

Despite obstacles in her path (the vehicle was pinned against a tree at the bottom of a steep, 8- foot embankment) Swithers pressed onward.

“I needed to crab-walk my way down to get to her. … I climbed down to her, continuing to talk to her the whole time. Once I arrived to her, I started gathering information, anything that would help the police in case she lost consciousness.”

Her instincts kicked in

A former Emergency Responder at Benco Dental, Swithers put her past training to use,

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Anna Shotis (above) refers to Benco Dental associate Denise Swithers as “Angel Lady.” Swithers came to her aid after a car accident  in Hunlock Township, Pennsylvania.

specifically helping Anna Sholtis remain calm and share details useful to emergency personnel.

“After I realized that the only thing I could do for this young woman, Anna, was to keep her company until the professionals arrived, I asked if there was anyone that I could contact to let them know what had happened. I knew that Anna was going to the hospital and I didn’t want her to be alone.”

The empathy of a parent

Swithers, a mom of three and grandmother of five, phoned Anna’s mother, Kay, and remained on the phone with her at the scene for about an hour until Emergency Personnel helped Anna into an ambulance.

“I would like to think that if this were one of my kids, someone would do the same,” she said when Kay expressed her gratitude afterward.

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Anna Sholtis is shown in the hospital six days after the vehicle she was driving went over an embankment in Hunlock Township, Pennsylvania. With Sholtis in the photo is Benco Dental associate Denise Swithers, a 53-year-old mom of three and grandmother of five, who ventured out on a dark winter night into a wooded area near her home after hearing “a loud bang” followed by a woman’s screams.

The recovery process, Denise still shows her support

To this day, Anna and her mom Kay remain in contact with Swithers and share updates on Anna’s progress. Since the accident, Anna, whose injuries included a jaw broken in three places, and fractures to her right hip and left eye socket, has undergone several surgeries.

Overwhelming gratitude to their “Angel Lady” prompted Anna and Kay to send a bouquet of flowers on January 25 as a birthday surprise to Swithers. The Benco Dental associate said she didn’t think her actions were out of the ordinary.

“I knew the person needed help. I didn’t know what I would find when I got to the scene, but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t help.”