You’ve probably heard it said and possibly even said it yourself. It is common that when someone has a good deed done, they will tell the ones who helped “You are a lifesaver.”
When 77-year old Terry Lane McNabb, gets the chance to speak to 13-year old, Casen Willis and 15-year old, Jermarion Robertson, he will most likely tell the boys that very thing. The difference is that he will mean it literally. They actually saved his life.
McNabb is currently still hospitalized at LSU-Shreveport after a fall at his farm on Styles Ranch Road in northern Jackson Parish on May 7th, left him with serious head trauma and a brain bleed. He is lucky to be alive, thanks to the heroic and courageous actions of the two teens.
In an exclusive interview with the Jackson Parish Journal, the two teens reflected on what took that fateful day.
“I was visiting my friend Caden (Casen’s older brother) and wanted to go ride on the four-wheeler,” said Robertson, who goes to school at Ruston High School. “Since Caden was eating a snack, Casen and I decided to take a ride in Mr. McNabb’s field.”
For a little background, the Willis boys were at the home of their grandparents, Regan and Jo Linda Gullatt, located on Styles Ranch Road. Being that Mr. McNabb has been a friend and neighbor of the family for several years, it was a commonplace for the boys to ride in his fields and surrounding wooded area.
“We went past the barn and as we got closer to the bridge that goes over the creek, I noticed something didn’t look right,” added Willis. “Mr. McNabb’s horse was tied up to a post by the edge of the creek and he was laying on the bridge that crosses the creek.”
As the two got closer they saw blood on the ground beneath and around McNabb’s head. It was apparent that he had fallen and had hit his on bridge made of what looks like metal boiler tubing. Without a second of hesitation the pair sprang into action. Immediately, Jemarion called 911 while Casen quickly leaped off the four wheeler and went to the fallen man.
“When I was told of how the boys responded, I was very proud of them,” said Cason’s mother, Brandy Thomas. “I mean if it would have been me at that age, I think I would have probably called my parents or grandparents first to ask what should be done, but they knew just what to do.”
After clearly explaining what they were dealing with, Jemarion began relaying the instructions he was getting from the 911 dispatcher to Casen, which was to first wrap something around McNabb’s head to try and stop or slow down the bleeding. With nothing else available, Casen quickly ripped of his white tee shirt he was wearing.
“It wasn’t white very long,” said Casen in reflection.
With one staying with McNabb, the other rode the four-wheeler back to the road about a quarter mile away and then guided the ambulance back to the scene of the accident. The EMT’s quickly went to work to stabilize McNabb who was still incoherent.
The teens continued to be tremendously helpful.
When one of the EMT’s asked the boys if they knew if McNabb was on any medication, they said they didn’t know but volunteered to go to his house to see what they could find out.
“There was no one at the house but we saw a bunch of pill bottles on the counter,” said Cason. “We found a bag, put all the bottles we could find in it and brought it back down to them.”
Once they got back they saw the medivac helicopter land in an adjacent field on the other side of the creek and helped point the way to where McNabb was being worked on.
Was there a time when the boys were frightened or scared when they first arrived to find McNabb laying there or after all was taken care of?
“I didn’t really think about it,” said Jemarion. “It was like we were just in the moment. We were the only ones there and we had to do something for him.”
When Jemarion’s mother, Danielle Jerro, was asked about the boys heroics, she said she was not surprised. She also gave a great indication of what is the guiding force in her life.
“I am very proud of what the boys did but not surprised as they both have good heads on their shoulders,” said Danielle. “I also give all glory to God. This is a great example of how he puts people in the right places at the right time.
Grandmother Gullatt (Jo Linda) echoed the sentiment.
“It wasn’t very long ago that it was Terry (Mr. McNabb) who was in the right place at the right time. He happened to come along when Caden had fallen in the creek and hurt himself and brought him back to us.”
Casen’s reply to the question of him being scared brought a little levity to the situation. It also showed that he was conscientious about one of the unwritten rules of living in the country.
“The only thing that I was scared about was wondering if we were going to get in trouble for not checking in,” said the junior high schooler. “We were gone a long time and I knew they (grandparents) would be starting to worry.”
He was right.
“I had just walked outside as I was beginning to get concerned because we hadn’t heard from them in a while,” said Grandfather (Regan). “Then I saw the ambulance pull up which gave me a jolt but I saw the boys there, so I was relieved. I couldn’t be mad at them when I found out the reason they hadn’t checked in was because they had been saving Mr. Terry’s life.”
One who was very impressed with how the pair responded was Jackson Parish Deputy Robert Pearson, who was one of the first to arrive on the scene.
“I have been in many situations like this often times where much older people would be in a panic and be of no help,” said Pearson. “These two young men remained calm and collected the whole time. There action before medical help arrived probably saved the man’s life and then they were very helpful in assisting the first responders on the scene. They are be commended for how they handled themselves.”
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