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Thanks to life-saving intervention, I still have a son

| July 4, 2024 12:00 AM

My son celebrated his 31st birthday recently. I wrote an “I'm so proud of you” message on Facebook telling of his senior graduation party night where they went up North Crow to party and my son ended up getting so drunk he passed out and aspirated on his vomit.

Three tribal police officers went up to check on the party and found my son unconscious and not breathing. They quickly put him in their police car, did CPR and got him to the ambulance, which drove him to the helipad at St. Luke Hospital in Ronan, where he was life-flighted to St. Patrick’s in Missoula and put on life support.

I highlight this incident because my son continued to struggle with alcohol for a few years, but after realizing the damage it was causing in his life he quit drinking and has been 100% sober for three years now. He’s living proof that it is possible to change.

I was never told who the officers were who saved his life that night and my son never knew who to thank. After my post on Facebook, the wife of one of the officers reached out to me saying her husband never knew who the kid was that they saved that night, and that he always talks about it. Here’s what former Tribal officer Tony Adams posted about that night:

“One heck of a night. Steve Raymond, TJ Haynes and I went to North Crow Canyon – a typical party spot. And there had been plenty of reports of a party up there.

“As I was heading up the road I observed a vehicle approaching me and it was riding in the ditch area. I pulled the vehicle over and took the female back for DUI processing. I came back 30-45 minutes later and convinced the other officers we needed to go check on remaining kids up at the trailhead.

“We found remaining passed-out kids up in tents. I tried waking one kid up and noticed that he was unresponsive. I turned him on his side and began efforts to make him vomit. Ambulance couldn't make it up to the trail head, so TJ, Steve and I loaded him up in to the patrol vehicle. He was turned over to the ambulance crew and brought to the hospital.

“TJ and Steve were honored with lifesaver awards from the Tribal Council and Pendleton blankets. I'm glad to hear this story and am proud that he went on to live a great life.”

So, thanks to all of you who stepped up that night, I still have my son.

– Victoria Templer

Ronan