2017-04-19 / Front Page

Boy Gives Up Blankets To Help Trucker Thrown In Pond

by David Pugh
Buckeye Staff Writer


Parker Bixler, 8, Archbold, left, gave up two of his favorite blankets to keep Matt Watson, right, warm. Watson was driving a large tanker truck that collided with a semi at the intersection of St. Rt. 34 and Co. Rd. 24 Friday, March 31. Watson was thrown from the cab of the tanker truck and landed in a pond. Parker’s guardian, Ed Leichty, used Parker’s blankets to keep Watson warm after he was pulled from the water. In return for giving up his blankets, Watson’s grandmother made this blanket for Parker. Watson was discharged from Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Sunday, April 16.– courtesy photo Parker Bixler, 8, Archbold, left, gave up two of his favorite blankets to keep Matt Watson, right, warm. Watson was driving a large tanker truck that collided with a semi at the intersection of St. Rt. 34 and Co. Rd. 24 Friday, March 31. Watson was thrown from the cab of the tanker truck and landed in a pond. Parker’s guardian, Ed Leichty, used Parker’s blankets to keep Watson warm after he was pulled from the water. In return for giving up his blankets, Watson’s grandmother made this blanket for Parker. Watson was discharged from Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Sunday, April 16.– courtesy photo When two trucks collided at the intersection of St. Rt. 34 and Co. Rd. 24 in Henry County, one eight-year-old boy gave up his favorite cozy blankets to keep an injured truck driver warm.

In return, he gained the love and respect of another family.

It was a chilly, foggy morning on Friday, March 31. Parker Bixler and his guardians, Ed and Amy Leichty, Archbold, were heading out to drop off Ed and Amy’s dog with friends so they could take a weekend trip.

They were heading south on Co. Rd. 24 when Amy said Ed first noticed the sound of fuses on the power line along the road popping.

“We said that’s weird. There was no lightning or anything, I wonder why all the fuses are popping,” Amy said.

Soon, their question was answered.

Parker said, “We came up by there (the accident scene) and there were so many people running around, and there was a semi flipped over, and we didn’t know why it was flipped over.”

Amy said Parker saw Joshua Grime, Archbold, and Wyatt Beck, Montpelier, who were in the process of getting the paddleboat into the pond near the intersection to rescue Matt Watson, the driver of one of the trucks.

Grime and Beck arrived moments before Ed, Amy and Parker. (Editor’s Note: The story of the rescue was told in the April 5 edition of this newspaper.)

“Ed went out, and then there were the two guys bringing a paddleboat. They got Matt onto the paddle boat, then Ed and the other driver (Bhullar Harnimarpreet Singh, 32, Brampton, Ont., the driver of the other truck in the crash) were pulling the paddleboat in,” Parker said, based on what Ed had told him.

With Matt out of the water, Ed returned to the car.

Parker said, “I had these two very cozy blankets. They were my two favorites.

“He (Ed) came up and said, ‘You’re going to hate me for this,’ and then he took them and then he was rushing back” to the wreck site.

Ed wrapped the blankets around the injured driver.

Amy said Parker asked what would happen to the blankets and she said, “Let’s pray.

“So we sat in the car and we prayed those blankets would be just what that driver needed– that those blankets could be Jesus around the driver.”

Soon after that the ambulances arrived, and Ed, Amy, and Parker continued on their way, without Parker’s blankets.

Contact

Amy said Lisa Watson, Matt’s wife, posted an entry on Facebook, Saturday, April 1.

Parker said, “She was trying to look for people that helped him (Matt) get out of the water and kinda helped him get better and like, not to…”

Die?

“Yeah,” he said.

Amy responded, telling Lisa they were not “the heroes of the story,” but that Parker had given up his blankets so Matt could be warm while waiting for the ambulance.

Ed, Amy, and Parker were near the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in downtown Toledo, Saturday, April 1, so Lisa asked them to come visit.

At the time, Matt was in the Intensive Care Unit.

Parker could not visit him, but Ed and Amy did.

At St. Vs, Parker was told that his blankets “were really special, and they really helped Matt a lot,” he said.

They helped keep Matt from slipping into hypothermia and shock.

“They said those blan- kets were extremely important. And then you felt not so bad about giving up your blankets,” Amy said to Parker.

“I was just like, ‘okay, I’m kind of okay with this,’” Parker said.

Matt’s mother and father were at the hospital. The father gave Parker a special gift.

“It’s like a little pin that says ‘guardian angel,’” Parker said.

The Gift

The following Saturday, April 8, a United States Postal Service delivery truck arrived in front of Ed and Amy’s home.

“It was a surprise. I saw the mail truck was here, and I was just like, ‘What’s here?’” Parker said.

A box arrived, addressed to Parker.

“We saw it, and I said, ‘Oh, I wonder what this is?’ Then we opened it, and I’m just like, ‘This is cool. It was like a Loony Toons blanket,’” Parker said.

Inside was a note.

“Thank you so much for giving your favorite blankets to keep my grandson Matt warm after his accident. Please accept this blanket as a token of thanks and appreciation.

“It has Loony Toons fabric that I made Matt’s pajamas out of when he was your age.

“Thank you and love, Grandma Watson.”

Miracle

Ed said as he approached the wreckage, “I didn’t know what I was going to find. I don’t know how anybody survived.”

Amy said Matt “is a miracle.

“We just kept saying we felt like God had every person in the right spot at the right time. If Wyatt and Josh weren’t there? No story.”

Amy said on Parker’s first night with his new blanket, “he pulled it up to his chin and said, ‘This blanket is awesome!’”

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