Four-year-old rescues father

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 20, 2003

Most young boys look up to their fathers as heroes, but when a bush hog fell on Jody Keen recently, it was his son, Mason to the rescue.

The 4-year-old youngster watched his father at their farm in Forest Home crawl under the heavy farming equipment to align the blades.

As he jerked back and forth on the equipment, it fell on him, pinning him underneath.

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&uot;I had not checked to see if the safety pins were in the tractor lift arms,&uot; Jody Keen said. &uot;I wasn’t the one who hooked the bush hog up to the tractor, I guess my father or brother did, but I should have checked to make sure the safety pins were in before climbing under.&uot;

At first, only one side of the bush hog fell. Keen found himself pinned to the ground with his legs under him.

&uot;It hit me on my shoulder and bent me over,&uot; he said. &uot;I couldn’t breathe.&uot;

Seeing his father pinned under the machinery, Mason immediately ran over to his father and tried pulling him out.

&uot;When the bush hog fell, Mason didn’t go berserk and start crying,&uot; the elder Keen said. &uot;He immediately ran to me and reached under grabbing my shirt and hair, anything he could get hold of, and tried to pull me out.&uot;

Keen said he was finally able to work his legs out from under him so he had room to breathe.

&uot;I asked Mason to get my brother Rob, who was in the house about 100 yards away,&uot; he said. &uot;And he ran as hard as he could.&uot;

The grateful father said his son was very brave as he ran for help, even going through a herd of horses that were grazing near the gate.

&uot;We’ve always kept him away from the horses, so I wasn’t sure if he would be too afraid to go through them,&uot; Jody said. &uot;But he acted like he was 10 feet tall and bulletproof, he just ran through those horses and hollered at them to get out of the way.&uot;

But just as the youngster reached the field gate, the other side of the bush hog fell on Jody.

&uot;Mason turned around and ran back to me,&uot; he said. &uot;I had gotten my head and most of my shoulder out before the other side fell.&uot;

Jody said he was amazed at his traumatized son because, despite his fear, he was offering words of encouragement and support to his father.

&uot;My wife and I have had to attend several funerals lately, so we’ve had to explain death to Mason,&uot; he said. &uot;When he ran back to me, I could tell he was afraid because he had tears in his eyes and kept saying, ‘Hold on, Daddy, I don’t want you to go to heaven. I’m going to get help.’&uot;

The little hero said all he could think about was getting help for his father.

&uot;He couldn’t talk, so I knew I needed to get help,&uot; Mason said. &uot;I had to crawl under the fence to get out, and I brought Uncle Rob back to help daddy.&uot;

While his son was getting help, Keen managed to pull himself out from under the bush hog.

Mason returned with his uncle a few minutes later, and the pair helped the injured man to the house. Then Rob took Jody to the hospital from which he subsequently was sent to Birmingham with a crushed L2 vertebrae in his spine.

&uot;The entire time at the hospital and in the ambulance before I left going to Birmingham, Mason was by my side telling me everything was going to be okay, that I was going to be all right,&uot; Jody said.

He said his brother went out to the farm later that week to move the bush hog out of the barn, and wasn’t able to lift it because it was too heavy.

&uot;I don’t know how I got out from under it,&uot; he said. &uot;The good Lord was with me that day, that’s all there is to it – that’s the only way I could have gotten out from under it. I wish there had been a video camera hooked up so I could see how I did it.&uot;

The Forest Home resident and his wife, pediatric nurse Anne Harmon Keen, are just grateful everything turned out all right.

&uot;The doctor said I should fully recover after wearing a brace for a couple of months,&uot; Keen said. &uot;I owe a lot to Mason for getting help so quickly, but I also want to thank the many churches that have helped us during this and kept us on their prayer lists. I really appreciate their support.&uot;