An Oklahoma grandfather is being hailed as a hero after saving the life of his young grandson. Gerard “Jerry” Greenough, 63, and his 13-year-old grandson, Austyn, were driving down an offroad trail September 2 when the ground began to loosen underneath them, and their jeep plunged 150 feet down the side of a mountain.
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But one final selfless act from the loving grandfather likely saved Austyn’s life. As the car vehicle began to slide, Greenough flung his arms around the youngster, held him tight and said, “Austyn, you’re gonna be okay and papa loves you.”
Amanda Kerley, Greenough’s daughter, told PEOPLE that her father had driven along the trail several times without any issue. He was a highly experienced off-roader. “The trail was not unfamiliar to him,” Kerley explained. It was a very simple trail, actually.”
“As the Jeep began to tip over, my daddy grabbed Austyn and cocooned him in his arms, protecting his head,” the daughter continued. “Protecting him as much as he possibly could from any bodily harm. He was a hero. He didn’t have to wrap my son, but he did.”
When a smile makes you cry happy tears!!!! Prayers are working!!!!! Come on chapter 3!!!!!! #YouAre#HopeintheDark that’s my boy!!!! #miraclesdohappen
Posted by Amanda Kerley on Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Austyn’s dad and twin brother were in the car ahead of him, and they managed to safely navigate the trail passage. Witnessing the accident, the family sprung into action, pulling an injured Austyn up the mountainside while a passerby performed CPR on Greenough. Sadly, despite desperate attempts to revive him, the grandfather was pronounced dead at the scene.
WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOGO AUSTYN GOCHAPTER 3 HERE WE COME!!!THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!Watch the miracles as they happen!!!!
Posted by Amanda Kerley on Friday, September 14, 2018
When Amanda’s husband, John, phoned her to explain what happened, her heart broke in two.
“I had to tell my mom that my dad passed away in the accident and nothing prepares you for that,” Amanda explained. “I was a daddy’s girl. It was hard to know that Tyler had to help rescue his brother and be there with my dad when he passed away. It’s a lot.”
Austyn was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque with a number of serious injuries: a broken clavicle, major blood loss, a ruptured spleen, spinal injuries and broken ribs. The Kansas City Star reported that the teenager had lost 40 percent of his body’s blood supply, and even suffered respiratory failure during surgery.
For a short time, it appeared that the youngter might not make it. “He was unstable. He was far from okay when I got there,” Amanda noted. “He did not look like my little boy when I walked into the room. He was intubated, sedated in a hospital bed. There’s nothing that prepares you for that.”
Austin spent six days in the intensive care unit, and a further two weeks in the hospital recovering from his injuries.
The young man has finally been discharged and is now back home. As the family move forward, Amanda has been reflecting on her father’s staggering sacrifice and bravery.
“My daddy saved my son,” she said. “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, if my dad had not sacrificed his own life to hold on to [Austyn] and protect him all the way down the mountain, my son wouldn’t be here either.”
Amanda also posted videos to Facebook showing a large group of friends and family welcoming her son back home.
“One word… BLESSED,” she wrote.
Posted by Amanda Kerley on Friday, September 21, 2018
“Jerry Greenough, 63, of Yukon, OK went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on September 2, 2018,” the man’s widow, Teresa, posted to Facebook.
“He served as an usher for over 30 years and loved serving at church. He attended Victory Church the last 19yrs. He worked in the auto parts business for over 40yrs. In 2001 he took the new name of Papa as he was given by his only granddaughter. In 2005 he was given twin grandsons. Jerry loved to take his Jeep up in the mountains with his wife and family. He was front and center to every event his grandkids were in, giving so much love and support to them.”
In a faith-filled Facebook post, the Amanda described how she is able to stay so positive throughout the process of losing her dad and watching her son go through such pain.
“It’s easy, God!!!” she wrote. I know he’s in complete control! I know he has a plan much greater than any I could imagine. I know Austyns testimony will reach so many. It already has! There’s a reason we are here and not in okc! And God knows that reason!”
She continued: “I find joy and peace in knowing that even though there’s been pain, loss, and grief in these moments, I trust that God is good and faithful! He’s beenever-presentt every single day in our life at this hospital! Sure we cry at times, I miss my daddy! But I find joy in knowing that his pain has been made whole! I find peace in knowing where he’s at is far greater than here on earth! And I smile when I think of him there, especially watching every sunrise and sunset on the mountain. God created those for us to enjoy here, I can’t even fathom what daddy is experiencing in heaven if there’s so much beauty here, I can only imagine what it’s like there!!!!”