Location: Mountain Grove, Missouri
Date: June 7, 1991
On June 7, 1991, in Mountain Grove, Missouri, Jim and Ethel Shepherd were looking after their three grandchildren, 6-year-old Daniel, 8-year-old Stacy, and 25-year-old Larry. Both Jim and Ethel were on riding mowers, mowing their lawn, while Daniel and Stacy were playing on the swing set. Daniel would constantly run up to Ethel's mower, while she wasn't aware that he was there. He jumped off the swing set and ran off, trying to beat her. She accidentally ran over his outstretched left leg, the mower blade cutting it severely. Larry heard Daniel's screams and rushed outside to help. Then he called 911. A St. John's ambulance was immediately dispatched.
Daniel was losing a large amount of blood. Ethel was holding him, trying to control his bleeding, while Jim waited for the ambulance at the bottom of the driveway. When it arrived, the paramedics knew they were dealing with something very life-threatening. Ethel's blouse was blood-soaked, and they had to pry Daniel free from her, because she was so determined to save him. While Paramedic Bubba Shaw began treating him, while his partner, Glenn Buckner, radioed for a helicopter. They needed a dryer and four or five towels to help with Daniel's bleeding.
As the helicopter was taking Daniel to the hospital, his family was, according to Buckner, thinking, "My God! What has just happened? Because it happened so fast. When the little boy was gone, that was when it really started sinking in. I gave Ethel a hug and told her to drive safely to the hospital."
A call was placed to Daniel's parents that their son was being taken by helicopter to St. John's Hospital, 65 miles away. There, a trama team was awaiting his arrival, led by Dr. Rosellen Meystrik. Dr. Meystrik told Daniel's parents, Dennis and Louise Prock, that there was no hope in saving his leg.
To Dennis, it seemed like a nightmare. "I didn't even know if he was going to die. I didn't know what I was going to say to him. My nerves just felt like they were going to fly out of my body, and that's what happened." Daniel's left leg was amputated just below the knee. He was hospitalized for nine days. During his recovery, he was often visited by the paramedics who helped him that day.
"Every time we went to St. John's, we'd sneak away for five minutes and see Daniel," said Bubba Shaw. He and Buckner even brought Daniel a model helicopter, similar to the one he'd been flown to the hospital in.
"Daniel is so strong. He has the courage of a hundred men," said Shaw. "He's going to be okay, I mean. He lost a limb, but he didn't lose his life. If his grandmother hadn't controlled his bleeding, he would have died before we got there. There's no question in my mind about it." "I really feel that what Bubba and I did was out of instinct and training," said Buckner, "and a true hero response to Grandma and the little boy."