In 2017 Ethan Johnson, a 21-year-old Idaho resident, found himself in the middle of an emergency situation. It was a snowy day and his neighbor had fallen seriously ill. Time was of the essence – the man was quickly losing sensation in his body.
Johnson had always been a caring member of society. The young man, who’s had special needs since birth, also possesses a real penchant for helping others. And that trait was to prove incredibly important when on January 4, 2017, Johnson’s Idaho Falls neighborhood was covered in a heavy blanket of snow.
Johnson wasted no time in getting outside to make himself useful. Just like every other time it snowed, he headed off to make sure that his neighbors’ driveways were cleared. So with a shovel in hand, he got to work shifting the snow in front of the Pevero Drive houses.
It was bitterly cold and the snow was deep, but Johnson nevertheless dedicated his time to ensuring that his neighbors could access the road. To his mom, Michele Mangum, Johnson’s actions weren’t at all surprising. It was just in his nature to help others.
Speaking to East Idaho News in January 2017, Mangum said that her son simply had “a giant heart… He helps anybody with anything.” On that fateful day, however, Johnson was required to provide assistance to a neighbor who needed a little more than just his driveway cleared.
Jerry Wixom, 72, was also busy clearing snow that day. He’d fired up his own snow-blower and headed out to use it, when he began to feel strange. “Within minutes, I suddenly lost feeling in my feet,” he told East Idaho News.
But Wixom wasn’t simply feeling the cold. He was starting to feel the onset of a real medical emergency. “I was beginning to have a hard time standing,” he recalled. And Wixom quickly realized that he wasn’t at all well, so he quickly came up with an action plan.
He subsequently made his way back towards the garage door, still holding the snowblower. But then, Wixom figured that if he went inside, he would tumble and thus be out of sight from the road. The 72-year-old was concerned that no-one would notice that he needed urgent medical assistance.
Wixom felt himself fading and feared that he might be having a stroke. But he wasn’t able to get to his phone to call 911, and there was only one other person out on the street at the time – Johnson.
Wixom shouted to the young man, who was busy shoveling snow at the house next door. “I yelled to him that I needed help, and he came running,” Wixom recalled. “It truly was an act of God that he was there.” And thankfully, Johnson reacted quickly.
He ran towards Wixom. And then, upon hearing the 72-year-old’s instructions, Johnson went to alert his mom. Mangum told East Idaho News how she remembers her son running into the house and frantically telling her that their neighbor was in trouble.
The first port of call was to dial 911. Then, Mangum and her two sons tried to carry Wixom into the warmth of his house. But the three of them could only managed to move him to his front porch. So instead, they all waited there for the paramedics to arrive.
And despite the snowy conditions, an ambulance and a team of firefighters soon arrived to assist Wixom, who was swiftly taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for treatment. Doctors checked him over and confirmed Wixom’s fears.
It turned out that Wixom had indeed suffered a stroke. In fact, his body had survived two of them. But thankfully, it looked like he would recover. Although Wixom had to undergo a series of treatments and tests in hospital, he wasn’t there too long.
And while he was being cared for in hospital, his savior, Johnson, came to visit him. It’s no surprise that Wixom was very grateful for his caring neighbor’s actions. “Had he not been there, who knows?” Wixom said to East Idaho News, clearly aware of how differently the outcome could have been.
“I might have turned into a popsicle that day,” Wixom continued. “Fortunately, two people came together that day, and he saved my life. What more can I say?” Johnson’s mom was also very relieved that her son had managed to raise the alarm.
“I just can’t imagine what would have happened in any other scenario,” she said. “If Ethan wasn’t outside when Jerry fell, nobody would have seen him for hours or even days.” After all, it was so bitterly cold that most people would probably have chosen to stay indoors that day.
Not only that, but the snowdrift was piled so high outside Wixom’s house that it was likely that he would have been totally hidden from passers-by. So even if a neighbor had been walking past, they still might not have spotted Wixom from the sidewalk.
What might have happened if nobody had spotted Wixom in trouble doesn’t really bear thinking about. The neighborhood should be grateful that they have somebody like Johnson living on their street, always looking out for others.
“Thank you Ethan, you’re a hero,” an impressed reader commented on the story – and rightly so. There’s no doubt that Johnson’s actions that day were vital, and by being in the right place at the right time, he most likely saved his elderly neighbor’s life.