By James Draper
When elderly man fell from his step into his front yard in the high heat of an early August afternoon, the Union Grove resident fought for more than an hour to get back on his feet. Elbows bleeding, heat stifling, sun beating down, he was stuck.
Sunset and slightly cooler temperatures were still hours away. The man was rapidly dehydrating, sweating and baking with the mercury at 104°.
Fortunately, 17-year-old Jeremiah McGee was out and about that day with his father and brother.
“We were going to get a boat,” recalled McGee, who lives not far from the 85-year-old’s home. “I’m driving, and we’re about to take a turn. I recognize the house. I don’t know what caught my attention.”
At just the right moment, at just the right angle he spotted the older man in the grass, still pushing to get back on his feet.
“At first, I thought he was working on something,” the Union Grove youth said.
That wasn’t the case, though. Even from a distance, the UGISD senior realized something was wrong. He pointed it out to his father, John.
“Stop for a minute.”
Rushing to the man’s side, he seemed near death to John. The man wasn’t thinking clearly, couldn’t stand – certainly fading quickly from the heat. John quickly beckoned to his sons.
“It was a pretty bad situation. He had been dehydrated,” Jeremiah McGee said. Quickly, they lifted the bleeding man into the truck and the air conditioning, calling for an ambulance. “Right then, I was just relying on the Lord to save his life and any others out here in this heat. It’s not a good thing. It’s dangerous.”
In this case, McGee’s brief glimpse probably made all the difference – paramedics transported the elderly man to a local hospital for treatment and soon, but for some cuts on his elbows, he was relatively OK. According to his granddaughter, physicians released him the same day about 9 p.m.
Reportedly, the man – whose name isn’t being released – was just getting birdseed out of his shed when he simply tripped coming down the stairs. He certainly wasn’t easy to spot in that position, his granddaughter added, and he was a good distance from the roadway.
Weeks later, the man’s family says he’s very much back to normal.
“I’m just really thankful that they saw him,” his granddaughter said. “They said it was a God-thing, and I really do think it was.
“I think it was just God making (Jeremiah) look over and see him, because I don’t think it would have happened on its own.”
No one’s choosing to get dehydrated, McGee said. The end-of-summer was certainly hotter than any he remembers.
“I think that the heat can kind of catch up and attack you.”
The teenger’s grateful he was where he needed to be in that moment. For McGee, it was a fortunate glance – not lucky, certainly blessed, an instant he didn’t know he’d been preparing for.
“I like the outdoors a lot – I’m big into hunting, big into everything to do with the outdoors. I know what to do in particular situations, not because I’ve been trained or anything like that, but because I’m out there a lot.”
He’s content that in this situation, those experiences readied him to spot something amiss and to lend help at the right time.
“I think it’s a miracle that I saw him and was able to help him.”
By James Draper