It has been a challenging time for our family these last couple of weeks. While away for a high school leadership retreat, our son had the ground under him collapse while sitting on the edge of a cliff. This resulted in several injuries including a shattered L4 vertebrata, broken L5, broken bone in foot and a broken jaw.
What I found striking during this whole ordeal is how much his Scouting experience has helped. First of all, it just so happened that his Scoutmaster was at this event along with several Scouts. Thanks to Wilderness First Aid training, he Scoutmaster was quickly and calmly able to organize the people near Conner and prepare him for emergency transfer. Meanwhile, the other Scouts on the scene from what I am told organized the other people around him and helped keep him calm. The school administrator on the scene was amazed.
Once in the hospital, I think Conner told just about every staff member and Dr. about how he had gone through the disability awareness area at Jamboree and as a result felt he had a good understanding what is was going to be like to use a wheelchair a walker or whatever thing will be required. There was no doubt this past experience had helped prepare him for this current experience.
His first question to the Dr. that was going to do the fusion surgery for his back--"Will I be able to backpack again?" Thankfully the answer is yes and we anticipate a full recovery within just a few months.
During his time in the hospital, many of his most frequent and happiest visitors were people he has become close with due to his years as a Scout.
The last several days have without a doubt again illustrated to me the value and power of Scouting in the life of my son and our family. It is not just something my son does, it is deeply part of who he is and as a result we are all better people.
I am going to pause many times during this week of Thanksgiving and I am sure in the weeks to come to give thanks that Conner will be okay and that he brought that little join Scouts flyer home all those year ago.
The right side of the image is the cliff he fell from. Conner is the blue at the bottom. The left side is the sandy spot where he landed feet first. Had he landed in any other spot and in any other way things would have been much worse.