Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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
  • NWS-FloodFollowDay2-15.jpg April flood brought people together to bail out community

    [Editor’s note: On April 19, 2013, a record flood hit Howard and Tipton counties. Today, we look at some of the financial aspects of the flood. In Sunday’s edition, look for stories about people who were affected, what has changed in the floodplains and how the communities are moving forward.]

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-KT041914-TwoinjuredinMiamiCocrash-CLG-pic.jpeg Two injured in Miami County crash

    PERU — Two people were injured Thursday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Ind. 19.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Farmer loses seat belt fight on appeal

    Denver-area farmer Thomas Fox doesn’t like to wear his seat belt.
    But after his lengthy fight with the Indiana courts over a seat belt violation, Fox may be rethinking his stance.

    April 19, 2014

  • NSC establishes number of transfers

    Northwestern School Corp. has decided how many transfer students the district can accept next school year in compliance with the state's relatively new open enrollment law. This is the first time Northwestern has announced vacancies at each grade lev

    April 19, 2014

  • Kokomo man heading to 'Hoosier Millionaire' finale Rick Rhodes is still having a hard time believing his good fortune. On Thursday, the 53-year-old Kokomo man walked away with $13,500 after beating out five other contestants on the “Hoosier Millionaire” live road show in Fort Wayne. “I’m still in sho

    April 18, 2014

  • Dual Credit classes KACC 02 Dual credits give high school students head start on college More area students are enrolling in dual credit classes as a way to get an early start on their college degrees and prepare for the rigor of higher education while still in high school. In the past five years, the number of college credits earned by

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Email, Internet knocked out at Miami Co. Courthouse PERU -- Basic government services were put on hold for the second time in nearly two months in Miami County after a massive server failure once again knocked out Internet and email access in most departments and offices. The crash hit early last week

    April 18, 2014

  • Early voting underway in Miami Co. PERU -- Miami County officials are reminding residents that early voting is now open for the primary election. Early voting started April 8 and will end May 5, one day before Election Day. Early voting is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday at t

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson Street Commons veterans home grand opening set for May 22 Jackson Street Commons, a home for veterans near downtown Kokomo, will host a grand opening May 22. The new $3.6 million facility, located at 322 E. Jackson St., provides permanent housing to 27 previously homeless veterans, said Judy Dennis, executi

    April 18, 2014

  • YMCA nearing design phase completion Development and design of the new 73,000 square foot YMCA should be completed in the next 30 days, YMCA of Kokomo Executive Director David Dubois told the Kokomo Common Council Monday. Dubois said he hopes to begin construction on the new facility by

    April 18, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
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