'Real-life action man' walked almost 6km in Storm Emma to bring sick child to hospital
A hero army man and a paramedic walked almost 6km in the height of Storm Emma to get a child with complex medical needs to hospital.
Defence Forces Corporal Steve Holloway (30) and paramedic, Declan Cunningham were called in an emergency to take Logan Shepherd (7) from his rural home to hospital on Friday night.
However, as they headed up a back-road near Clearistown in Co. Wexford, they realised both routes to the house were impassable even with the use of snow-chains.
Given the seriousness of Logan’s illness, the pair decided to proceed towards the house by foot, with Logan and his mother Louise making their way in the opposite direction.
Louise said they decided they would have to call the emergency services when the electricity went in the house and the fuel line broke on the generator.
Without this the equipment to feed and hydrate Logan didn’t work.
When Corporal Holloway and Mr Cunningham met up with the family, Louise had two bags full of equipment needed for Logan that was not available in the hospital.
All three took turns in carrying Logan through the snow and back to the defence forces vehicle amidst snow drifts of up to five feet high.
The whole operation took about four hours, starting at 11pm, with everyon e arriving at the hospital shortly after 3am.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Louise said the two men were “heroes”.
“They didn’t have to come down when they saw that condition (snow) - they didn’t have to carry on, they chose to carry on, it’s really hard to get words out, unless you meet them or speak to them you wouldn’t realise how lovely the two of them are,” she said.
“Logan was mesmerised by a real-life action-man.”
Corporal Holloway said Logan and his mother were the real heroes, but he was proud to have made a difference and there was no way they would turn back.
“He was walking back behind us while the snow drifts weren’t too bad, but as they got to four or five foot I had the child on my back,” he said.
“He said he felt like the Hulk ploughing through the snow.
“It was just a case of by hook or by crook get there.
“We’re used to working in challenging and dangerous environments both home and abroad in the military, but when you actually get to make a difference to the community, that makes it even more worthwhile,” he added.
Corporal Holloway said he and Mr Cunningham - of the National Ambulance Service - have built up a friendship over the past week.
“I’m looking forward to having a drink with him when all of this dies down.”
Mr Cunningham’s colleague, and local councillor, Ger Carthy - who was overseeing the operation as an advanced paramedic - said they “probably don’t get enough credit for the work that they do”.
“To finish the job is a great achievement,” he said.