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Fall Victim Gives Back to Rescuers

Updated: Monday, February 17 2014, 07:35 AM EST
An emotional thank you from a Florida man who plunged from a mountain waterfall and almost lost his life.

Saturday he and his family gave a gift to the men and women who rescued him.

When volunteer firefighters save lives hey don't expect anything in return, the rescue is a gift in its own.

It was just over six months ago when a hike with friends turned tragic. Paul Cleaver slipped off the top of upper Catawba Falls, falling more than 70 feet into shallow water.

He landed on his feet, "as soon as I hit the water I came back up and I was like my feet don't feel good right now, and so I brought them out of the water looked at them and put them right back down."

He was left with two shattered heels and broken feet, "the metatarsals were all broken and off to the side."

Randy Vess was the first firefighter to reach the young man.

Randy Vess, Crooked Creek Fire Department, "my first thought was, he'd never walk again."

It took hours to carry Paul out of the woods, paramedic Jordan Harrell was by his side, "and you were the attending paramedic, thank you everything, thank you."

Terri Cleaver, victim's mother, "it's just nice to look them in the eye and know that they were there that day for my son, when I couldn't care for him, and as a parent. If you can't be there you certainly want someone caring for them."

Jordan Harrell, McDowell County paramedic, "just try and make him know that I'm going to be there for him, I'm not going to leave him or anything and try to be his friend."

His recovery, some call a miracle, this former runner is getting back on track, "I'm able to walk and very lightly jog."

Just another step in his recovery that started with strangers he now calls friends. Fall Victim Gives Back to Rescuers


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