Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Close Call

Zach was picked to attend the Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training program (NYLT). The boy applies,the Scoutmaster gives a recommendation,and then he is either chosen or not. The program is for 6 days,and the boys are taught various things such as how to run a patrol,leadership skills,etc. NH's NYLT takes place at Camp Bell,in Gilmanton  Iron Works (GIW,incidentally,is the setting for the famous novel Peyton Place. The author based it on people she knew).

We dropped Zach off on Sunday for noontime.Once everyone in his particular patrol arrived,they hiked two miles into woods,up a mountain for their week long training. The only buildings are the shower houses. They do have tents on platforms with cots for the boys to sleep in.

I had to take this photo of Zach when we dropped him off. I am so proud of him being chosen. You can tell how excited he was to have his Mumma take his photo in front of everyone. :)


The weather forecast for this week is thunderstorms off and on all week long. My Dear Friend Michelle and I were saying at yoga class Monday that we hoped they had some sort of shelter in case a bad storm came up. Her son Ethan,is at NYLT with Zach. They wound up being in the same patrol.

Monday night around 11:30 the phone rang,and it was the ER at Lakes Region Hospital in Laconia,NH. Zach was in the ER,and he had been in a lightning strike. He had a burn on his heel,but he was OK,and she told me to hold while she connected me to Zach.

When Zach got on the phone,he told me what happened. Apparently,a storm came up quickly,and it was a bad one. The only had time to get under a staging area. It looks like they may have used it for some classes or for meals. I got the photo from the WMUR (Channel 9) webpage:


Lightning hit a nearby tree,and the electric current traveled through the root system,coming out to where they boys were. There were approx. 30 boys and leaders under the tarp. Zach said everything was bright white,then a very loud clap of thunder followed. There was pandemonium,of course,with yelling and screaming. Zach says he yelled for everyone to "shut up" because "they were hurting my ears".

No one felt any effects until 30-40 minutes later. Some boys complained of tingling sensations in their arms,legs,or down their sides. One boy had blurry vision and his left side was numb. Some, like Zach,felt burning and spider web like markings started to show. Because the storm was still going on,they could not go down to the main building at the base of the mountain. Adults and older boys who had experience and training did first aid on the boys as best they could until the storm passed and they were able to go down to the main building,where most of the boys were put into buses. Six boys who had burns on their chests were driven by truck. They all went to the Belmont fire station (23 boys,3 adults) where they were assessed and then they were all sent to various local hospitals depending on their injuries. Some boys were just shaken up,but those like Zach who had burns, etc,were brought to Lakes Region. Zach had a burn on his heel,and a blister that popped. He said on a pain scale of 1-10,it was a 15,but when he spoke with us,it no longer hurt. His ears had rung for a brief period,but that,too,went away. Michelle's son has a burn on his back. 

Zach sounded fine,but tired. He complained that he didn't get a chance to finish his dinner,because as soon as he started eating,that's when everyone was brought to the hospital. He joked that they all should get a "I Survived a Lightning Strike" merit badge. I knew he was fine. 

This is the tree that got hit. Again,the photo is from WMUR Channel 9 in Manchester,NH.




Zach is back at camp,and everything seems to be fine. I have been a bit of a wreck,just thinking about how close he came to getting either seriously hurt or killed. A lightning expert was on the news discussing this and he said that it is very rare that so many people  get hurt from one bolt,and that there must've been a very large charge of electricity.He was shocked that no one was killed. Usually someone is in that circumstance.

This week just happens to be Lightning Awareness Week.

Oh,the irony!

We are so very grateful that he is OK.



12 comments:

  1. What an incredible story. Years from now Zach will have a story to tell!
    You seemed so calm but I know you must of been a wreck.
    You are blessed!

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    1. I have finally gotten rid of the huge knot in my stomach! We are very lucky,indeed. :)

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  2. oh Donna - what a scare that must have been! there are not a lot of people in the world who have been actually struck by lightning so Zach is right - they should get medals!!!! i am so glad that he was chosen to go on this training - he will learn a lot of stuff, including what he just learned about how to help a group during a disaster. one last thing - he looks so much older than the last pic that you posted of him. he is growing into a handsome young man!

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. The training is excellent,and if he does a good job,he can get nominated to help run NYLT next year. That will require more training either in Washington DC or at Philmont High Adventure Camp in New Mexico. He can certainly teach our Troop about this type of experience.
      He is growing so fast...thank you,Kymber. :)

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  3. Holy crap Donna!! So glad he's okay, scary stuff! On the upside is he suitably charged enough to allow you to go off grid!! ♥♥♥

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    1. LOL! We are hoping that he might have received some superpowers from it!!
      Thanks for the giggle :)

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  4. Holy moley! I heard that story on the news yesterday. So glad that he is fine.

    Sue, you goof!

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    1. Thank you! It's amazing how quickly the story went national and knowing The Boy was part of the story. It was rather surreal.

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  5. Oh my! How scary. I'm a mom who has seen her son off on many scout trips so I totally understand your fear. When my son went to National Jamboree in 2001, a huge storm moved through and the scouts were sent to their tents. One of the poles from the dining canopy went through Jon's tent when he and his friend were in it! It just barely missed them both. Luckily I didn't know till he got back home. :)

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    1. Goodness!!!
      I'm glad he was OK!!!!

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  6. Oh my goodness! Donna I cannot even imagine how terrifying this was for all of you! I am also so very thankful That Zach is ok and all of the campers. What a story they have to tell. Not only was he chosen, which is such an honor, he has an amazing story of a lifetime to share. What an adventure. Who knew they would learn so much about lightening on top of everything else. SO thankful they are all safe and sound. Hugs Amy :)

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    1. Thank you,Amy :) It was a very long week,to say the least!

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