Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

6 Year Old Raymond Williamson Clifford. A Hero in Our Family.

Six-year-old super hero Raymond Clifford demonstrates how he
saved his grandma's life by picking up the phone and dialing 911.
Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
I've spent a great deal of time searching our family lines for interesting stories about our ancestors. What a refreshing change for tonight's gathering to celebrate a new hero in our family and tell his story.

Raymond is one of our youngest Williamsons and a real hero for saving his Grandma Sandy Williamson's life.
First, my relationship to Raymond so you can see how he fits into the family line.

And now Raymond's story as written by Jaci Conrad Pearson and printed in the Black Hills Pioneer Newspaper.

SPEARFISH -- While most little boys aspire to superhero status, this little guy has actually attained it — and he's only in kindergarten.

When 6-year-old Raymond Clifford of Lead decided in the middle of the night to crawl in bed with his grandmother, Sandy Williamson at her Spearfish home, little did he know that after celebrating the miracle of Easter on Sunday, the two would be celebrating a miracle of their own on Monday.

“I just called 911 because my grandma was real sick. But it's only for emergencies,” Clifford explained.

Lead-Deadwood's very own little superhero saved his grandmother's life by calling 911 at approximately 3:29 a.m., April 5, when he was awakened in the middle of the night to her having a seizure.

“If he hadn't been here, I wouldn't be here any more,” Williamson said. “He's always told me that when he grows up, he wants to be a hero. So I told him 'he's my hero.'”

Williamson said that she suffers from remitting/relapsing Multiple Sclerosis, along with diabetes. When she began having involuntary muscle contractions, stemming from the MS, a deadly cycle was set in play, as the contractions caused her glucose levels to plummet and by the time Clifford actually awoke, she was unconscious.

“He told the dispatcher that his grandmother wouldn't wake up and he didn't know what to do,” Williamson said. “When they got here, they started a glucose I.V. and I woke up. The first thing I said is, “Where's my grandson?”

Spearfish Police Sgt. Steve Hofmann and Officer Katie Allart responded to the scene of the emergency, where they were met at the door by Clifford.

“Sometimes heroes don't know they're a hero and he certainly is,” Allart said. “Raymond is very humble about what he did. The truth is, had he not called 911, his grandmother would not have survived the night.”

Allart said that the most important thing that Clifford did besides calling, was to stay on the phone. Once they arrived to help, he unlocked the door for the officers, showed them where his grandmother was and once the paramedics got there, began watching cartoons.

“He was cool, calm and collected,” Allart said. “He checked on his grandma and once he found out she was OK, he just watched cartoons.”

Hofmann, too, was impressed with Clifford's heroism.

“Most kids would've rolled over and slept or gone out on the couch if they awoke to what Raymond did,” Hofmann said. “It's impressive that he knew what to do. The paramedics said that within one-half to one hour, she would have been dead.”

Clifford's mother, Nikki Williamson was made aware of the night's 911 happenings, also with the help of Clifford, who knew her cell phone number and where she worked. He directed the officers each step of the way in finding his mom.

“I got a call that said 'This is the Spearfish Police Department and we're here with your mother as the result of a 911 call placed from her home. Paramedics have been called and she is very ill.' I said, 'Who placed the call?' They said, 'Your son.'”

After composing herself, Nikki said, with tears in her eyes,

“It was the hand of God. His grandma is a big part of his life, a big part of his care-giving. He's with her a lot. His grandma means everything to him. He would be lost without her.”

Nikki said that to reward Clifford for his efforts, she took him to Wal-Mart the next day and said he could have anything he wanted.

“He chose Cheez-Its. That's it,” Nikki said.

Lt. Curt Jacobs of the Spearfish Police Department said that he's been in law enforcement 23 years and he's never seen anything like it - a child this young save a life with a 911 call.

“We're extremely proud of Raymond. He did a wonderful job. It's pretty amazing. For him to wake up, know something was wrong, call 911 and stay on the phone, that's really something. I'm just really proud of him.”

Colleen Adams was the 911 dispatcher on duty when Clifford's call came in.

“He did wonderful,” Adams said. “The way he explained everything, I could tell that something was terribly wrong, and for a child to call at that time of night. ... He stayed on the phone with me too. I don't usually get to see the after-effects or outcome of my work, but this ended just great.”

With several members of the Spearfish Police Department on hand, including Allart and Jacobs, Hofmann presented Clifford with a “Life Saver” award on behalf of the Spearfish Police Department during a ceremony held at Lead-Deadwood Elementary School Tuesday morning.

After relaying Clifford's choice of reward as Cheez-Its from Wal-Mart following his heroism, Hofmann said he decided to ask Wal-Mart for a little bit of an upgrade in prizes for Lead-Deadwood's littlest hero.

He then proceeded to wheel out a brand new shiny bike and helmet, courtesy of the Spearfish Wal-Mart. Clifford soon climbed aboard and Allart helped him take his maiden voyage around the gym.

The big lifesaver who worked in tandem with the little live saver that night was Paramedic Anthony Bopat.

“It's pretty amazing a 6-year-old was heads-up enough to know to call 911 in that situation. He stayed calm and I'm proud of him,” said Becky Binder, Clifford's Lead-Deadwood kindergarten teacher. “Right on, Raymond!”

“He took care of me all the next day. He's a good little nurse. He's my nurse in training,” Williamson said.