By Brenda L. Holmes
Lorraine Mongan is happy to have her son, Matthew, home in time for the holidays. A feat, she said, that would not have been possible without the quick assistance of two good Samaritans and local first responders.
“Our family will never be able to express how grateful we are to everyone who saved our son’s life,” Mongan said. “I know to them it’s their daily job, but they’re our heroes for life and I’ll never be able to thank them enough. May God bless each and every one who was involved.”
On Dec. 1, Matthew Mongan Sercer, 20, was working on a farm just outside of the Plainfield town limits when he had a major accident with an auger. He was cleaning out the silage wagon when his clothing became caught in the machinery and he was nearly torn apart.
“It hooked on his pant leg and it drug him down,” Lorraine Mongan said. “He was working alone. If it weren’t for a guy walking into the farm house who saw Matthew ... it could have been so much worse.”
Dustin Jenkins lives in the farm house and was outside talking to a friend, Sean Ellis, who was there hunting.
“Dustin said he saw Matthew’s hat fly up and knew something was wrong,” Mongan said. “He happened to be at the right place at the right time.”
Jenkins and Ellis ran to turn off the tractor and assist Matthew. Ellis then ran back to the house to have Dena Jenkins call 911.
Matthew also asked Jenkins to call his mother.
“I made him repeat what he was saying three times before I heard him say ‘Matthew,’” Lorraine said. “He said ‘yes, Matthew has been in an accident. He’s dying.’
“I was there in five minutes. I thank God for these three people who were there to save my son. They were not supposed to be home that day — their plans were canceled last minute. It was God’s blessing that they were there.”
Lorraine arrived as the emergency management services crew was getting her son out of the machinery. He was stuck in the auger up to his hips. His left leg was pulled apart at the knee and the back of his right foot was cut off. He also had cuts all the way up his back to below his neck.
She said one of the first responders made quite an impression on her son.
“Matthew really wants to thank one of the EMTs,” she said. “He stayed with him the whole time. He held him and helped him to stay awake. I think his name is Ray Bruner.”
Plainfield EMS Captain Mike Wolfe said paramedic Burner was assigned to patient care during the rescue.
“Bruner has been with our department for 15 years — since 1997,” Wolfe said. “I wasn’t on the scene, but from everything I know, I’m very proud of how all the departments did, not just our guys.”
Lorraine said they feel fortunate that Bruner was working that day.
“Matthew feels that he owes him his life and will never forget him,” she said. “He remembers Ray sitting next to him, talking to him, and never leaving his side.”
Plainfield’s heavy rescue equipment was unavailable at the time of the accident so Brownsburg assisted. Danville EMS also responded and assisted on the scene.
Wolfe said on a larger scale rescue other departments will often come in to assist.
“We have a rescue task force in the county,” he said. “We pool our resources so that no one department has to go in on their own.”
The IU Methodist Lifeline helicopter was flown to the scene with a doctor on board.
“It was amazing,” Lorraine said. “They were able to reattach his leg and his heel. He’s going to have to have another surgery because there was a lot to damage, but he’s home now.”
She said the two weeks following the accident were a blur and that Matthew will go to rehab once his body has had more time to heal.
“They said he’ll probably have rehab for three or four months,” she said. “And he’ll not have feeling in his heel, but he will have use of it. So far, so good.”
Lorraine said being bound to his bed has been difficult for Matthew.
“He works seven days a week ... 10 to 14 hour days,” she said. “We hardly see him. It’s been hard for him to sit still. He can’t even really move. He’ll probably be in bed for three months.”
She said she cannot thank his rescuers enough.
“It was all so amazing, what they all did,” she said. “I’m still learning bits and pieces. I’m just so thankful. It will be a long road ahead, but our family motto has always been ‘Celebrate the Country.’ And we will forever be ‘Staying Country Strong!’”