Teen thanks hero after waterfall rescue in North Carolina
Updated On: Sep 24 2013 11:44:15 PM EDT
When Paul Cleaver plummeted 60 feet off a waterfall, a stranger came to his rescue, but was never seen again, and his family could never thank him, until now.
In the weeks since the accident in North Carolina, that local teen's family finally tracked down the mystery hero, and amazingly, discovered he lives right around the corner in Lake County.
Cleaver's mom has been on a mission to find that man who helped her son, who was on a trip as a summer camp counselor from his home in Lake County.
"It's one of those phone calls you never want to receive as a mom," said Terri Cleaver.
Firefighters said the waterfall drops 60 feet into icy water and boulders below.
"We heard a loud splash. That's when we realized what had happened. My first instinct was fear," said Chris Kincaid, a trained paramedic who also just happened to be on vacation with his family from central Florida. "There was definitely a threat of hypothermia and we wanted to make sure he didn't go into shock."
Cleaver believes he "probably would have died" had people not plucked him from the water and cared for him immediately after the accident.
"It just happened so quick. I remember hitting the ground," said Cleaver. "I was in God's hands and there was nothing I could do."
Seven weeks later, Cleaver is healing from multiple broken bones in his feet and back, but his family knows something brought the two Lake County strangers together.
The trained paramedic took action, and perhaps, helped save Cleaver's life. That launched mom on a mission to find the mystery man she calls a hero.
"He helped my son," said Terri. "Heroes never want to consider themselves a hero, but he's a hero to us."
This week, mom finally tracked that hero down. They talked over the phone, and she's hoping to finally meet to say thanks in person.
"It's really cool. It makes me feel great," said Kincaid, who does not consider himself a hero. "He's the hero in my mind. He was lucky, or blessed, or both."
To see more about Paul's accident and recovery, check out the family's blog here.