Ypsilanti High School student being honored for 'heroic feat' that saved grandfather's life
Jeffrey Smith | AnnArbor.com
Jacob is being honored Saturday with a special Boy Scouts of America Medal of Merit for saving both his and his grandfather's life after the older man suffered a stroke while driving on the interstate.
June 4, 2011 is a day Jacob and Bob Moorer will never forget.
Bob, 65, said he, his grandson and other family members were traveling to Cookeville, Tenn., for an Eagle Scout presentation for Jacob’s cousin.
Jacob, who is now 16, was the only person in the car with Bob. His parents and three siblings were in another vehicle. The family, all Ypsilanti Township residents, stopped 30 minutes outside of Lexington, Ky., and stayed at a hotel for the night before continuing their travels.
“Jacob’s family was in their vehicle probably 15 or 20 miles apart from us,” Bob said. “I don’t remember this, but my son, Donald, told me he was going to have his daughter ride down with me and I think Jacob insisted that he go all the way with me instead.”
It was a decision that presumably saved both of their lives.
After waking up, Bob and Jacob left an hour earlier than everyone else. Shortly after getting back on the road, the pair stopped at a gas station to get a few snacks. It was then that Jacob sensed something was off with his grandfather.
“When I got in the gas station he was starting to walk all wobbly and falling on shelves,” Jacob said. “He told me as we left that, ‘I‘m not feeling good Jacob, watch out for me.’”
Bob said although his memory of the day is sparse, he remembers feeling “weird” and not like himself.
“I don’t know why I said what I did to him but maybe it was because I started feeling funny,” Bob said. “It was a weird thing for me to say but I guess he listened.”
Jacob recalls that his grandfather seemed as if he felt better but 20 minutes after getting back on the road, his grandfather’s behavior seemed odd again.
“He started going out of lanes and he hit a car,” Jacob said. “We were driving in the middle lane and he started going 20 miles over the speed limit.”
Jacob said he thinks their speed limit reached up to 90 miles per hour at one point.
"I tried to steer for him but a car came up next to him and he rammed into the side of it,” Jacob said.
Bob said he never lost consciousness but his vision became impaired and he began seeing double of everything.
“I pulled the steering wheel to left and I kept my hand on the steering wheel,” Jacob said. “I told him to pull over and he wouldn’t listen to me. We pulled over to the exit ramp and it was kind of a cliff at that point. It went straight down and you could see a big hill below and he was headed straight for the hill and I had to steer him off of it.“
Jacob and Bob said they nearly hit a semi truck that seemed to come out nowhere.
“I thought we were about to die but I wasn’t ready to die yet,” Jacob said.
Jacob said Interstate 75 was relatively busy that Saturday morning and they were lucky that a pileup was avoided.
“It was a situation that could have been disastrous,” Bob said.
Donald Moorer, Jacob’s father and Bob’s son, said at that point, his son called him and said he needed to come right away.
“My son said, ‘Dad, you need to come, something is wrong with grandpa,’” Donald said. “My dad was really unresponsive so we put him in my car and called 911.”
Upon going to the hospital, doctors confirmed that Bob had a stroke.
Bob spent three days at the University of Kentucky’s hospital before being discharged.
Despite the severity of the situation, Jacob said he was never scared because of the training he received as a Boy Scout.
“I knew what to do,” Jacob said. “I was old enough to know what to do to take care of my grandfather. I saw him having a stroke and it was really depressing because I could see my grandpa starting to die.”
Bob credits Jacob with saving his life and for that, he will forever be grateful for his grandson. The last minute switch of having Jacob ride with him instead of his 11-year-old granddaughter was no coincidence, Bob said.
“We’re lucky no one was killed or hurt in this thing,” Bob said. “I owe my life and the lives of others to him. It was a good call that Jacob was sent with me. I don’t know if she would have been able to do the same thing. I believe it was divine intervention.”
Jacob is being honored Saturday for his heroic feat at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located at 941 S.Grove Rd. Jacob is receiving the Boy Scouts of America’s Medal of Merit at a special Court of Honor ceremony at 7 p.m.
Jacob is a Boy Scout as well as a football player and wrestler at the high school.
The medal will be presented by Rob Ream, the new Council Commissioner for the Southern Shores Council.
Bob believes his grandson deserves the award.
“When something like this happens, you read about it and about people being saved,” Bob said. “They always catch my eye and this is the stuff heroes are made of. He will always be a hero to me. If it weren’t for this young man who I love very much I wouldn’t be here and he wouldn’t be here.”
Donald said only a high ranking official within the Scouts can bestow the medal. It took close to a year of review because Bob and Jacob had to submit letters to the Boy Scouts of America.
The event was eye-opening for Jacob and made him appreciate his life.
“My grandpa is a 10-year cancer survivor,” Jacob said. “It did bring us closer as a grandson and grandfather. I realized that I should start spending more time with him because you don’t know how much time you have with someone.”
Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at 734-623-2548 or KatreaseStafford@annarbor.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @KatreaseS.