ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A young man’s quick thinking saved the life of his father while the two were in Lone Elk Park. A weekend hike for Craig Ratcliff and his son, Nate, almost turned fatal when Craig had a heart attack. Nate immediately called 911 when Craig began to suffer chest pains.
“His face started to turn red and he started puking,” Nate said.
Knowing exactly where they were could’ve been the difference in life or death.
“I gave her the location and the trail and, at the end, that’s what saved my dad’s life,” Nate said. “Just my knowledge of it.”
Multiple agencies responded in the rescue. If it wasn’t for Nate’s attention to detail, the rescue may have ended differently.
“If it had not been for him making the phone call and giving us directions, we would have never located them or, if we had, the outcome would’ve been completely different,” said Lt. Tom Dimercurio, Fenton Fire Protection District 1. “It would have been a completely different scenario.”
Nate was with his father as first responders arrived and got him the medical attention he needed.
“We were…going up to the ambulance and he said ‘I love you.’ We were holding hands just to make sure he was still alive,” Nate said. “I don’t know what I was thinking at the time. I didn’t know something this bad was going to happen.”
Emily Ratcliff is glad her husband is alive and proud of her son.
“I’m happy that the rest of the world gets to see what I see in Nate every day,” she said. “He’s a goofy 13-year old boy who likes to have more fun than he likes to work. When it comes down to it, he’s an amazing person. He showed that on Sunday.”
Nate already knows what he’ll do when he sees his father for the first time in nearly a week.
“Give him a hug and walk him up the stairs,” he said.