Pre-schooler saves dad's life after machete accident

ROCKDALE CO., Ga. (WXIA) -- Here's a question for parents and grandparents of pre-school children:

Have you tried to teach them, yet, how -- and when -- to unlock your cell phones or smart phones and dial 911?

The Powers family of Rockdale County learned it's never too early for a child to learn how to call for help.

"She did great," said the dad, Shawn Powers, Tuesday. "She definitely saved my life."

The lifesaver is the elder daughter, Elisha Powers, who just turned four.

Last week -- when she was still three -- her dad was out back cutting up a tree that had fallen in the ice storm. He was using his machete on some branches. He accidentally cut his right arm near the wrist -- his artery, nerves, tendons.

The mom, Andrea Powers, was at work. The neighbors were not at home.

Shawn ended up sitting on the front porch with Elisha and her younger sister, Elaina. He was trying to stop the bleeding with his left hand, and unable to pick up the phone with either hand to call 911.

But he and his wife had taught Elisha how to do it.

"I knew she was my only option," Shawn said, "my last option, basically."

Sitting on the front porch Tuesday evening with her father, Elisha demonstrated for a visitor:

"I press this button [to unlock the phone], and press 9, and 1 and 1...." She made sure, during her demonstration, not to press "green" button that she knows completes the call.

"I put [the phone] in Daddy's ear and then he talked to the police and then I was crying. And then I was really brave."

On the 911 call, Keosha Gibbs-Lucas, a 911 communications officer with Rockdale County 911, calmly and effectively keeps Shawn talking as he is fighting to slow the bleeding.

Gibbs-Lucas reassures Shawn several times that two ambulances are on the way.

"I have two little girls with me and they're pretty scared," he tells Gibbs-Lucas. "My four-year-old's actually holding the phone for me. I couldn't call."

And that's how Elisha Powers saved her dad's life.

"She did great," Shawn said. "I mean, she was very calm the whole time. I could see her, she was tearing up and everything, but she wasn't crazy crying, screaming and everything. It's like she knew there was something important that she had to do and she was going to do it."

While they were waiting for the ambulances, Shawn is heard on the 911 call talking to Elisha as she is holding the phone to his ear: "Thank you, Elisha, you're being very brave."

As Shawn sat on the front porch Tuesday evening, his rambunctious daughters running in and out of the news interview, and Andrea just off to the side, Shawn recalled Elisha's resolve.

"I remember her saying, 'I don't want to lose my daddy, I don't want to lose my family,' it's like she knew this was a way that she could help me. So I was really, really proud of her."

On the 911 call, about nine minutes after the call began, Shawn hears the ambulance sirens, and he tells Elisha, "Baby, that's them. You hear 'em? They're close, okay? They're almost here."

Elisha asks Shawn if the people who are coming are going to make him better.

"Yeah, they're going to put a bandage on it, Baby. Okay?"

Tuesday evening, Shawn said that right after the accident he thought for a moment that he might die.

"There was a split second where I thought, when I was bleeding and I didn't know what my options were, it's like, 'Well, is this going to be it, am I going to just die right here? I have to survive for these two. I have to be there for them.'"

Shawn paused and took a deep breath.

"So, luckily, she was there for me."

Andrea Powers said she and Shawn taught Elisha last December how to unlock their smart phones and call 911.

"Just get the word out to parents that it's never too early to teach your child how to call for help if it's needed," Andrea said.

She smiled, fighting back tears.

"Praise the Lord, Shawn's alive. He's well. And our family's still a family."

Shawn Powers said doctors are telling him that his arm should heal in six to eight months.

They won't let him work until then.

He had just started a new job, and his benefits have not kicked in, yet.

A fund has been set up to help the family pay for Shawn's medical expenses. Click here to help.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories