Actions are recognized
Trio credited for saving Vance Easter’s life
Somehow, in the midst of the shock and panic, Jewel Easter said her first-aid training kicked in.
“All I remember is: ‘cold water,’” she said about her decision to run for the water hose and to spray her father after the flames from a horrific welding shop accident were put out.
The cool spray helped cool his body as Vance Easter and his rescuers waited for emergency personnel to arrive.
Jewel recalls how calm her father remained throughout the ordeal.
Vance Easter sustained third degree burns to 70 per cent of his body on Sept. 24, 2011 when a piece of slag ruptured his hose line, turning it into a flame thrower aimed right at him.
He spent a few days shy of a year on the Halifax burn unit before being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. He got home for a few days at Christmas 2012, and was officially released from hospital in April 2013.
Jewel and two passersby who rushed to Vance’s aid, were recently presented with certificates in recognition of their role in saving his life.
“Quite humbling. Bitter sweet,” Jewel said of the recognition.
She recalls the suffering her father endured after the accident and celebrates his ongoing recovery.
“He’s always finding something new to figure out,” she marvels.
Robb Wickstrom, a director with the Life Saving Society of P.E.I., attended a recognition ceremony in the Easter family’s yard and confirmed that the three, Jewel, Austie O’Meara and Glen Campbell, have been nominated by Vance for lifesaving awards and will be receiving their awards this fall.
While appreciative of the recognition, both Campbell and O’Meara said just seeing Easter walk and joke around is reward enough.
“It’s just something spur-ofthe-moment,” O’Meara said in describing how he and Campbell rushed to Easter’s aid.
They had been at Easter’s Western Welding shop earlier in the day and were just driving back past when they saw Easter, in flames, running from the shop towards the house.
Campbell rolled him on the grass and O’Meara grabbed a deck umbrella to help smother the fire.
Remarkably, Campbell and O’Meara, who were travelling together, had meant to go home another way that day.
“His strength and willpower to come back from something like that is unbelievable. He’s the real survivor,” said Campbell.
Easter, who suffered two heart attacks and two strokes and endured several surgeries during his lengthy recovery, returns the praise.
“I am sure proud of these three people and they deserve every bit of recognition across Canada.”