March 17th about 11am I decide to hike out into the woods to a spot where I saw a moose the previous week. I dressed fairly lightly thinking I would build up a sweat. The hike is about a quarter mile flat then heads uphill. I took my cell phone knowing I don’t get very good service but more for the picture taking and my wife Jeanne has asked me to take it.
Well it’s a short walk to the end of my road and to the start of the trail. There’s a green gate where I start. A snowmobile has been up the trail so walking was relatively easy going if I stay on it. The snow itself is not knee deep but close. Off I go walking at a slow pace and watching for tracks of all sorts of critters.
About a quarter mile in the trail splits. The snowmobile goes to the left and the main trail goes straight up a hill. It’s not a real steep grade but steep enough to really have to work at moving ahead. It’s no longer packed snow so it was pretty hard going. I believe I got about 300 yards, when I realized I was really getting tired and even considered turning around. While thinking about that I took several more steps. That’s when it hit me, very suddenly I was extremely dizzy and having a hard time taking a deep breath. My legs gave out so I went to the ground on my knees.
A little background on my health, I have had 5 previous heart attacks, two were very serious. So in my mind I’m fairly certain I’m having another episode. This one was a little different in that except for the chest pressure I was in no pain. It’s at this point that I went into survival mode. I though I’ll just give this feeling a minute and catch my breath. Okay, minutes up. I tried getting up and immediately went back down. At this point I shifted again into a more serious mode. Pulled out my phone saw that I had 1 (of5) dot of coverage so I sent a text to Jeanne letting her know I was in trouble and needed help. I tried about four or five times, each time waiting for it to go thru. Each time reading that it did not send.
Okay, time for another shift. I thought, okay I can’t walk but maybe I could crawl back down to the snowmobile trail where I might get service and be easier to find. I tried on all fours and got just a few feet before I realized this was not an option either. So I sat up and tried clearing my thoughts. Okay let’s try 911. I realize now after this ordeal, that was my first moment of panic. The call was not sent-no service. I tried 911 about 6 more times and got nothing. I was sitting in a spot where I could reach up an break some hemlock branches. Thought I would make a spot that wasn’t so wet. Well not even that worked as my arms had no strength left. Okay so here I sit leaning against a tree with my phone in my lap but having no communication with the world.
This was a shift I never intended to make but I was resolving myself that this is where I die. This is where some one will find me. The mere fact of that quickly made me shift again, and I found myself yelling out loud “I will not die here like this”. I look up and told my Lord, “Jesus I am no longer in control I give all this up to You. Help me Lord.”
My prayer is interrupted by a voice in my lap asking “what’s your emergency”. Alleluia, the 911 operator took all the info she needed to know to get me help. Rescue was on the way. But I’m not out of the woods just yet. It was getting mighty cold and I was having a harder time breathing. 911 kept me on line for another 20-25 minutes. I don’t remember some of that time and may have passed out, not sure.
I’m hearing someone yelling out in the distance I yelled back but didn’t have much of a voice. Some time goes by and I hear someone yelling again but I can tell whoever this was had taken the left one the trail and missed my tracks going to the right. I mustered all my strength for this yell not knowing if I had another. I even surprised myself how loud that HELP sounded. He heard me and answered back. Thank You Jesus!! Just a short time later I looked down the trail and saw a man coming up. It’s at this time oddly enough my phone rang and disconnected 911. I didn’t answer and I’m still not sure who called me.
The next thing I remember is a member of the rescue team pulling my coat off and ripping my shirt. I felt two cold objects put on my chest (I knew what was about to happen) I heard “clear” and slam, both my arms and legs shot straight up in the air. It was right at that very moment I was looking straight up at the cloudy sky. Clouds just parted in a small area just enough for me to first see, then feel the warmth of the sun. It also effected the EMT as it hit him on the back of his neck. I think he said “I’ll never forget this moment”. I said “that’s Jesus!!”
The next shift was the rescue. I was so cold and shaking uncontrollably. The team lifted me off the snow and onto a stretcher. Now it was a race to get me down the mountain and the 1/2 mile trek back to a waiting ambulance. I was fully aware how hard the team was working going down the trail with near knee deep snow. Now once they reach the trail it was even worse for them as one step would be on packed snow and the next would break thru the 18″.
I remember giving praise and glory to my Lord all they way down to the road. In total, I was to find out their were at least 15 men and women involved for this rescue from 4 or 5 different towns. I met my wife and daughter before taking off on a quick ride to Athol hospital where I was life flighted to Umass med.
In Worcester Massachusetts, I was visited twice by one of the EMT’s from the flight and also visited by the Warwick fire dept. Both these men and others saw the goodness and grace of our Lord that orchestrated this successful rescue.
I have many people to thank and part of my thanks is this testimony, that it may enlighten and encourage those who have reached the end of their perceived control and must seek Him out for HELP..!!