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April 25, 2014

Shelbyville soldier part of Easter miracle

(Continued)

I stood up and we watched as we tried to comprehend what was going on. I saw a man pick up a boy from the walkway and place him in the grass. I had forgotten about the commotion from earlier as that really never fully registered in my mind; therefore, I didn't make the connection that someone was pulled from the water. We started guessing what happened. At first I assumed someone had a medical condition and/or just passed out. Then a man appeared be pressing on the abdomen of the person on the ground. Even then I said, "Maybe he choked on something." After a couple of minutes I realized this person was actually unconscious.

At that moment things started coming together quickly. There was about 5-7 adults around trying to help and they all began motioning for help from the restaurant. They were beginning to stand up and walk around with their hands on their heads and making other body language as if to say, nothing more can be done. I told my wife, "They don't know what to do!" She said, "You have to do something." I was hesitant at first because I was aware that a lot of time had already passed, nor was it known how long this boy had stopped breathing in the cold water. She told me, "Get over there and save him." To be honest, the others appeared so hopeless that maybe they knew he had been in the water longer than could be revived. I began walking in the direction then slowly picked up a light jog. Everyone parted as if somehow I appeared confident which gave them the hope that I knew what to do.

As I approached the boy and knelt beside him I felt myself well up with tears while maintaining my composure. Everything about this boy's appearance told me he was dead, he was in the water too long before he was discovered, and that reviving him was probably not possible. All of this raced through my mind while my body was taking unhesitating action. I quickly began chest compressions followed by a breath of air. The boy's body and eyes were lifeless and cold as the Spring Belgian water. I pinched his nose and the first breath was hard to force in. Then I instructed the father to push, so that he could do the compressions. He appeared to have a good pace and was doing well. I would stop him so that I could give the boy a breath. The second breath made his chest rise and I could hear gurgling. The father continued compressions. My mind told me, "The air went to his stomach." So I remembered CPR training from years ago at Fort Gordon: Tilt the head back farther to open the airway. The next breath made the same gurgling sound as the boy's chest rose. At this time I was still worried the air was entering the stomach so I just did the best I could to keep his head tilted back. After a few rotations I was losing hope and began tearing up more, but probably not noticeable to the onlookers. I was sure the boy was dead...

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