David Bruce: Be a Work of Art — Guns, Horses


• In his autobiography, Standing the Gaff, minor league umpire Harry “Steamboat” Johnson tells a story about umpiring a game in the Western League. It was the 9th inning, the bases were loaded, and a batter for the home team hit a high fly ball to left field. However, the cowboys in the crowd drew their guns and blasted the baseball to bits in the air before the visiting team’s left fielder could catch the ball and make the out. What call should an umpire make in that situation? According to Steamboat, “You don’t make calls like that against the home team!”


• In June 2007 in Allanville, Camperdown, North Tyneside, England, 10-year-old David John “DJ” Amers knew what to do when his mother, Beverley, stopped breathing and fell unconscious. He called 999 (Great Britain’s emergency number), resuscitated her, and put her in the recovery position, all of which he had recently learned at his school. Beverley said, “I am so proud of DJ. He is my hero. He saved my life.” Beverley had recently banged her head on something and passed out; she suffered a concussion. DJ said, “I was talking to the next-door neighbor, and my mother had gone to the shop to get a birthday card for a friend. She came back from the shop and couldn’t speak. She was grabbing the fence and then she fell backwards. I quickly grabbed her things and rang 999 before giving her mouth to mouth and putting her in the recovery position.” DJ’s grandmother, Margaret Horrocks, said, “DJ came running around saying his mum had stopped breathing. I went after him but couldn’t keep up. It was very scary, but DJ did such a good job and so did the school. The week before this happened, DJ put his teacher in the same position. Bless DJ, he did so well and was so controlled. But it was uncanny, I can’t believe the school taught him in that short time some real-life skills. It is great that other children like DJ have these skills, so they can help in an emergency.” DJ attends Burradon Primary School. Its Headmaster, Alistair Gilfillan, said, “We are very proud of DJ. We have recently provided First Aid training by the Red Cross for our children. DJ has obviously learnt from what he saw. These are vital life skills that we think are important children acquire from an early age.” An ambulance service spokeswoman said, “It is very important that children of DJ’s age know how to dial 999 and deal with a situation like this. DJ was extremely calm and brave under the circumstances and dealt with the situation remarkably.”

• In February 2011 in Milwaukie, Oregon, 24-year-old Jeff Bryant caught an infant and saved its life. Mr. Bryant heard an alarm as he walking to his car with a cup of coffee in his hand, and he walked toward the alarm to see what was going on. He saw a second-story apartment on fire — from a window leaned a woman, holding an infant. Mr. Bryant dropped his coffee and ran until he was directly under the infant. He yelled to the woman, “Drop the baby!” She yelled back, “Will you catch him?” He yelled, “Yes!” She dropped the baby, and Mr. Bryant, as he had promised, caught it. He said, “It was like catching an egg.” He added, “He looked like he was sleeping. Just a baby in diapers.” Steve McAdoo, spokesman for the Clackamas Fire Department, said, “It was an extremely hot and fast-moving fire. It was so intense that it blocked the exits for those inside.” He praised Mr. Bryant: “It was fantastic. The woman was holding her baby out from the smoke and fire, and probably trying to figure out what to do. He stepped right up. I’ve never been around a case like this.” The woman jumped from the window a few seconds after Mr. Bryant made his dramatic catch. The woman told firefighters that two other children were inside the building, but unfortunately firefighters were unable to revive those children. Mr. Bryant’s wife called him a hero, but he is modest. He said, “To be honest. I just reacted. I didn’t have time to be nervous.” As a father of two young sons, he has had practice catching children. He said, “I play with them all the time by tossing them in the air. I know how to catch a child. I got the baby right under the armpits and then bent my knees to cushion the fall.” He added, “I’m a father. I did what any father would do.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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