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Hunter's Story

  • Name: Hunter
  • Age: 19
  • Location: Faith, SD

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It started as a typical spring Sunday in Faith, SD for the Johnson family, watching their oldest son, Hunter, compete in the local high school rodeo on Mother’s Day 2016. Just days before his own high school graduation, Hunter saddled up his horse like he had hundreds of other times in his life.  Hunter and his horse came out of the chute and made a few jumps, when he was knocked loose and kicked in the chest.

“I took about four steps and I remember my legs kind of just quit working,” recalls Hunter. “I couldn’t figure out what was going on and everything went black.” As Hunter’s parents, Russel and Krissy, fearfully watched from the stands, they immediately knew something was wrong. As their son lay stretched out on the ground, Kris Escott, a local nurse with Horizon Health Care’s Faith Community Health Center, began CPR.

When Hunter was kicked in the chest, it caused Commotio Cortis, which stopped his heart – meaning Kris needed to shock him multiple times to get his heart beating again. Commotio Cortis is a disruption in heart rhythm that occurs as a result of blow to the area directly over the heart during the heart beat cycle, causing cardiac arrest. 

“It sunk into me that I was pretty sure I just watched my kid die.” - Russel

Now in his second year of college, Hunter and his family can’t imagine what the outcome could have been if Kris Escott wasn’t at the rodeo that fateful day. “Kris Escott is the lady that saved my life,” Hunter says with tears and gratitude. “If Horizon Health Care wasn’t in Faith, SD… Kris Escott wouldn’t have been in Faith, SD.

“I still to this day have no words. There are no words to express having someone give your child back to you.”

- Krissy

Nearly 2.5 hours from the nearest city, Faith is what Hunter describes as a small, tight-knit community where your neighbors are always looking out for you. Being that far away from a city, means they also don’t have large health care facilities nearby and solely rely on their local clinic and medical professionals to provide the urgent and day-to-day care when they need it. Being that far from a hospital means many of the medical professionals in Faith, just like most small communities, are not only there to greet you at your appointment in the clinic, but also there in emergency situations like Hunter’s as an EMT. Kris Escott is one of those people; during the day she is a nurse at the Faith Clinic, but she is also a local EMT and the current Ambulance Director around the clock in the community. Kris began her career in health care by joining the ambulance crew as an EMT, which then led her to becoming a nurse.

 “I enjoy working in a small town because I feel that I am making a difference,” Kris says. “You are personally vested in your patients’ outcome. You know your patients in a critical time, thankfully Hunter’s situation turned out for the best.”

​Donate to the Horizon Health Foundation

Save a Life Today.