Stamper receives award

Boyle County EMS Maj. Aaron Stamper, right, hugs J Smith after receiving an award Friday for helping to save the life of J's son, Jalen. (Ben Kleppinger / ben@theinteriorjournal.com / October 19, 2012)

STANFORD — A Boyle County paramedic was honored Friday for his role in saving the life of 8-year-old Jalen Smith.

Smith was seriously injured Sept. 16 during a church hayride accident, when his leg was crushed.

Boyle County EMS Maj. Aaron Stamper, who is also a board member of Stanford EMS, was honored during the Friday-afternoon dedication of Stanford EMS' new facilities for his role in responding to the scene and stabilizing Smith.

Stanford Interim Capt. James Neikirk presented the award after recounting his own experience the night of the hayride accident.

Neikirk said after receiving multiple panicked phone calls reporting a hayride accident at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds and injured children, he and other EMS responders from all around the region responded to the scene.

Neikirk said when he arrived, Smith was on the ground suffering from a broken leg and major arterial bleeding.

Amidst the chaos following the accident, it was Stamper who got Smith stationary on the ground and put much-needed pressure on his leg to prevent him from bleeding out, Neikirk said.

Stamper told others he would continue to keep pressure on Jalen's leg while whatever else needed to happen was accomplished. Without Stamper there that night, "who knows what would have happened," Neikirk said.

Neikirk paused for a emotional moment and after regaining his composure, continued, "He truly did save a life."

After accepting the award, which was presented to him by a wheelchair-bound Smith, Stamper thanked those present and Smith's family.

"We don't do things to look for praise or to look for thank-yous," he said.

Stamper said Jalen was remarkably brave and calm throughout the night as emergency responders worked to save his life.

"I've seen a lot of people that may not have been able to do what you did that night Jalen," Stamper said. "I'm proud of you."

After a three-week stay at the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital, Smith is now recovering at home. Smith's mother, Jacqueline, said earlier this month that there isn't currently an estimate for when he would complete physical therapy and regain use of his leg.