The good Samaritan who was paralyzed saving a 4-year-old girl from drowning in a rushing creek has died, according to family members.
A press release posted Friday morning on Facebook and on the friendsofmikepatterson.com website said, “It is with great regret and sorrow that we announce that good Samaritan Mike Patterson passed away early this morning, as confirmed by Brian Meadows, Mike’s brother.”
Patterson, 43, dove into the creek to save Javea Jones after he heard her scream as she was swept down Euharlee Creek on June 11, the Associated Press reported. His 9-year-old son watched from the shore.
Patterson reportedly broke his neck on the rocky bottom and was paralyzed from the neck down.
He was taken by ambulance to Redmond Medical Center in Rome. Four days later, Channel 2 reported that Patterson had contracted pneumonia. By June 18, he was battling an infection and unable to breath on his own.
Patterson was a Sheetrock hanger who had just started a new contracting job and didn’t yet have health insurance, the AP reported. Supporters of Patterson’s bravery have sent him donations through a Mike Patterson Donation Fund, according to Channel 2.
Media mogul Tyler Perry donated $50,000 to this fund.
Supporters from around the world also have sent Patterson cards thanking him and wishing him well. Patterson’s mother, Vicki Jones Roberson, told Channel 2 that she read the cards to Patterson every day.
“When I quit reading thinking he’s sleeping and I set them down, he opens them eyes up and looks at me like, ‘read me more,”’ she said.
Jones was the second person in two weeks that Patterson had risked his life to save, the AP reported. He and another man saved a tanker truck driver from his burning rig after an accident.
Roberson told the AP that is how her son has always been.
“He’s a hero and an angel,” she said.
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