Teens help Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s man after fall causes spinal cord injury
Brandon Murphy (left) poses with 71-year-old Maynard King and Brandon’s friend, Telegram newspaper carrier, Cameron Martin, at the Miller Centre Wednesday afternoon. The two helped King after he fell from his deck and suffered a spinal cord injury in November. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
As 71-year-old Maynard King lay on the ground helpless for almost two hours in the yard of his home in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s on Nov. 23, he made a spiritual plea for help.
“When I was on the ground, at the end, I said, ‘God, please send someone to help me,’” he said Wednesday afternoon, seated in a wheelchair at the Dr. Leonard A. Miller Centre in St. John’s. “And then I heard the boys in the back coming, so God really used the two boys to be my angels that day.”
Cameron Martin was in the midst of handling his daily route as a Telegram carrier when he approached the Kings’ home on Brentwood Avenue in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s at 1:30 p.m. His friend Brandon Murphy had accompanied him for part of the route.
The two boys, both 16 years old and students at Prince of Wales Collegiate in St. John’s, thought they could hear someone calling out for help, and initially thought it might have been related to construction work in the neighbourhood.
They moved towards the backyard of the King’s home to make sure nothing was amiss, at which point they heard more shouting. They asked where the shouting was coming from and heard a voice say, “Down here.”
King had earlier been attempting to get inside the garage to handle some chores. He was heading up some steps to use the garage’s side entrance when he suddenly fell.
It was Brandon who first found King on the ground. He ran to the front door to get help while Cameron stayed behind with King.
“It didn’t really seem real,” recalled Cameron.
Cameron could tell immediately King’s body was cold — the man was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and gym pants — but he did not move his body. The boy had recently completed a first aid course and understood moving King could cause further harm.
Minnie King, the man’s wife, had assumed her husband had gone next door to the house of the couple’s son to visit their granddaughter.
“I didn’t go out to check on him, because I thought that’s where he was,” she said. “When Brandon came to the door, I was shocked. When he said, ‘Your husband is down in the yard,’ well the first thought I had was he’s dead, because I knew he’d gone out about an hour and a half (ago).”
Brandon and Minnie returned with blankets to keep the injured man warm until paramedics arrived.
“The doctor told me, a few more minutes and I would have been gone,” said Maynard King. “So I was really lucky they came.”
He’s now an in-patient at the Miller Centre. He underwent surgery Nov. 24 to repair the spinal cord injury, and remains at the Miller Centre for physiotherapy. Maynard did manage to get home for a few hours Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
He is not able to walk, but is starting to regain movement in his hands.
“It’s an ongoing process,” said Minnie. “He could not even get his hands up to his mouth at first, and there were a lot of issues. Every day there’s some improvement.”
She is incredibly grateful the two boys were able to find her husband when they did. They have also continued to visit Maynard at the hospital since his fall, bringing him snacks.
“You get a lot of bad reports about young people, and this is two amazing young people that were there and were available to help my husband,” she said.