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Summer is a fun-filled time for children, but danger can be right around the corner. For 8-year-old Easton Crane of Brighton, a lawnmower mishap was made better thanks to the quick work of Alton Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Medical Services.
Easton was helping his father, Jeff Crane, mow the lawn on Independence Day last year, but the mower slid down the hill on wet grass and ran over Easton’s left foot. A quick response from Matt Jolly and Ashley Streubel of AMH EMS saved the day.
“He lost the four little toes on his left foot and only the big toe was saved,” said Brandi Crane, Easton’s mother. “We got right in the car and I called 911 as we were driving toward Alton.”
Since the Eastons were already on the way, they arranged to meet an ambulance at the intersection of Humbert and Seiler roads.
“We were there only about a minute before they arrived, although it seemed like an hour to us,” Brandi said. “But they took us straight over to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Matt was just great with Easton. For Matt, it was probably just another day at the office, but at the same time he let us know that it was an urgent situation and they were on the case. He told the driver (Streubel) that it was a ‘hot’ situation and to go with the siren on. Matt kept Easton going by talking about soccer and other things. The ambulance ride was very peaceful, thanks to Matt."
Easton has since had eight surgeries to protect against infections, and he still says that Jolly is the best one he’s had at putting an IV in his arm.
“He has also had two blood transfusions and a skin graft from his leg to his foot,” Brandi said. “He’s having to learn to do certain things again with his leg, but that’s actually much easier for a child than it would be for an adult. We’re to the point now where he won’t need any more surgeries unless he thinks he needs something because of pain or mobility issues.”
The Eastons visited Jolly and Streubel at AMH less than two months after the accident.
“We just felt the need to see them again,” Brandi said. “Easton asked if we could pray while we were in the ambulance and Matt was fine with that. We are Christian people, and I was just thinking we were going to have to accept whatever the result was. But Matt made everything so good for us. It was like hanging out with a friend.”
Easton is aiming at being back on the field for baseball this spring. He is in third grade at Shipman Elementary School, while the Cranes also have a 17-year-old daughter, Rylee, now a senior at Southwestern High School in Piasa.
“Easton is a rock star to us,” Brandi said. “He’s already been back on a four-wheeler, although he’s not a real big fan of anything related to lawn mowers yet. But we’re just so grateful to Matt and the Alton Memorial EMS team. They are the best.”
Pictured above: Easton Crane of Brighton was happy to come back to Alton Memorial Hospital with his mother, Brandi, to visit EMS team members Ashley Streubel and Matt Jolly.