Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Local News

November 19, 2012

Paper carrier saves life of 93-year-old

Woman goes 3 days without food, water before being found

A newspaper carrier Saturday helped save the life of a 93-year-old woman, who was trapped inside her house for three days without food or water after falling in the kitchen.

Esther Wilkins said she had just gotten back from church Wednesday evening, when she tripped over her feet and fell to the ground inside her house.

“I went flying across the floor and ended up under the kitchen table,” she said Monday from her hospital room at Community Howard Regional Health.

Normally, Esther said she wears a medical alert bracelet with a button to call for help in case of situations just like this, but earlier that day she’d taken it off. She said she lives alone in her home on Elizabeth Street.

“That night I just had to spread out on the cold tiles on the kitchen floor to sleep,” she said.

The next day she discovered she could use a kitchen chair with wheels on it to scoot around the apartment, but she wasn’t able to stand up to reach her phone or her door handle.

But by taking off her shoe, Esther said she could reach the switch to turn on the hallway light, so she didn’t have to sit in total darkness.

By Thursday night, she said she was frantically trying to think of ways to get help. She contemplated breaking out her window to shout for help, but decided against it.

“I just couldn’t get help,” she said. “I kept trying, trying, trying to think of ways, but I just couldn’t get help.”

Then early Friday morning, Esther heard someone at the door. She realized it was her newspaper carrier, Sam Gregory, delivering her daily copy of the Kokomo Tribune.

“I knew he delivered my paper, and he was always so kind,” Esther said, noting Gregory would always hang the paper inside her storm door so she could easily reach it. “I called out from the kitchen, ‘Sam, Sam, I need help. This is Esther.’”

From that distance, however, he couldn’t hear her and moved on.

By Friday, Esther said she struggled with thirst and hunger.

“I didn’t have a drink of water or a bite of food for the whole time I was on the floor,” she said.

Esther was so delirious she said she saw the black-and-white photos on her wall in color, and they were moving. Her lips were so parched she could easily peel off the skin, she said.

But Esther said she realized Gregory was her only chance for help. Early Saturday morning, she shuffled herself towards the door with her chair and waited for the sound of the storm door opening.

Sure enough, at around 5 a.m., he arrived with the paper, and Esther grabbed her chance.

Gregory, 27, said Monday he heard Esther yelling for help. He said he had begun to suspect something was wrong earlier after he noticed she hadn’t gotten her papers for two days.

“I heard her yelling my name and that she needed my help,” he said, noting he’s been a Kokomo Tribune carrier for about six months. “Once she knew she had my attention, she really started shouting.”

In a master-lock box on the door handle to her house, Esther kept an extra key. She shouted out the number code to the box, Gregory opened it, retrieved the key and entered the house.

“I was just shocked,” he said, recalling seeing Esther on the floor. “I’ve never been in that situation before.”

Esther quickly informed Gregory of the situation. The first thing he did was get her a glass of water.

“That was the sweetest glass of water I’ve ever tasted,” Esther said. “It was so, so good.”

Gregory called an ambulance and waited with her until it arrived.

When she got to the hospital, doctors told Esther she was severely dehydrated and might have died later that day without medical treatment.

“I don’t think I’d still be here if Sam hadn’t found me,” she said.

Tina Holtsclaw, a friend who visits Esther a few times a week, said it was a miracle Esther was found when she was.

“Sam could have just walked away, but he didn’t, and I’m so thankful for that,” she said. “I can tell you Esther is going to love him forever.”

And in fact, Esther said she does.

“If he were here in front of me right now, I’d say ‘Sam, you are my hero,’” she said.

Esther reported Monday she’s still bruised, but feeling good, and happy to be alive. She said she’ll likely start therapy today, and plans not to live alone after leaving the hospital.

“The whole thing was very traumatic, but I feel like I’m getting back to normal,” Esther said.

As far as Gregory, he said he was just happy to be at the right place at the right time.

“It’s not every day you get the chance to save somebody’s life,” he said. “It feels pretty good.”

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached by phone at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Art FOr the Sky Wallace School hosts Indiana’s first Art for the Sky project From the ground, the crowd gathered at Wallace School of Integrated Arts on Wednesday seemed like nothing more than people in colorful T-shirts standing in odd groups. But with "sky sight," the formation took on the large-scale image of a paint palet

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • City acquires more right of way for Nickel Plate Trail extension The city of Kokomo acquired another piece of land for the construction of the Nickel Plate Trail in its quest to extend the trail from county line to county line. The city's Board of Public Works and Safety approved a recreational trail easement that

    April 24, 2014

  • County residents speak out against wind energy As debate continues over the construction of wind turbines in Howard County and its neighbors, residents are turning up the heat on officials in an effort to stop development in the southeast corner of the county. Concerned citizens spoke out during

    April 24, 2014

  • Driver in fatal hit and run on Center Road pleads guilty The driver of a truck involved in an August hit-and-run crash that killed a 13-year-old boy could get as much as seven years behind bars if a judge accepts his plea. Randall K. Rector, 58, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in d

    April 24, 2014

  • TUFF CURBS Locals upset over Markland curb plans Plans to eliminate left-hand turns along the city's busiest business corridor caused a major uproar Tuesday. Business owners, city officials and state legislators spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday on the phone protesting to Indiana Department of Tr

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police reports Howard County Arrests Tuesday, 4:34 p.m., police arrested Alisha Whitt, 27, 500 block of South Washington Street, at that residence, on a parole violation. Tuesday, 6:21 p.m., police arrested a 15-year-old male in the 400 block of West Sycamore Stree

    April 24, 2014

  • Eastern to move forward with $2M renovation to jr./sr. high school GREENTOWN -- Renovations at Eastern Sr./Jr. High will continue this summer after the board of education on Tuesday approved spending another $2 million on the final stage of upgrades. There will be no net impact on taxes, which has been a priority fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Volunteers still helping tornado victims Back in March, volunteers set out to inform tornado-ravaged neighborhoods there is still help out there. The small group of volunteers, part of the Long Term Recovery Team, took to the streets of the worst areas hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes, passing

    April 24, 2014

  • NWS - KT042414 - Coats Coats plans to join GOP senators calling for Russian sanctions INDIANAPOLIS -- U.S. Sen. Dan Coats wants tougher sanctions against Russia for its growing involvement in Ukraine, despite signs of wariness back home. "If there is a bully in the schoolyard, the sooner you realize that and stand up to that bully, th

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gardening-Bee Sanctuaries-3 [Duplicate] Bee sanctuaries Bees are pulling a disappearing act. Honeybees are vanishing from their hives. Bumblebee numbers have crashed so radically that some species are believed extinct. Even native solitary bees are in decline. Food supplies dependent upon pollinators are

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued From Swimming Pool Raw: 3 American Doctors Killed in Afghanistan Raw: Obama Arrives at State Dinner in Tokyo Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Raw: Obama Visits Meiji Shrine in Tokyo Stars Talk Guns N' Roses at Golden Gods New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Oregon Gay Marriage Ban Goes to Court SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries