Fund set up for GA man paralyzed after rescuing young girl - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fund set up for GA man paralyzed after rescuing young girl

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ROCKMART, GA - A Georgia man jumped to rescue a drowning 4-year-old girl, but now he's going to need some help of his own.

That rescue left him paralyzed: he broke his neck, and has no health insurance.

Diana Davis talked to his mother and the mother of the girl he saved.

The water was shallow, but fast. In just seconds, 4-year-old Javea Jones was swept away.

"I was terrified, that's it, just terrified. I mean, it's my daughter," said the girl's mother, Carlissa Jones.  "She's underwater, all you see is the top of her head."

Carlissa screamed for help.

Michael Patterson, a father himself, dove into help.

"He jumped in head first and after I grabbed her we looked back and he was floating on top of the water," Carlissa said.

Patterson was paralyzed the moment he hit the water and his 9-year-old son saw it all happen.

"And his little son was over there and he goes like 'you okay, daddy?' and he wouldn't wake up so like four men went down there and liked picked him up and they brought him right here and the ambulance came and they tried to do CPR," said Carlissa.

Patterson was rushed to Redmond Medical Center in Rome. He is in intensive care, paralyzed from the chest down. Though he's been told about his paralysis, his mother Vicki Jones said he still hasn't grasped how badly he is hurt.

"I just want to wake up from this nightmare," said Vicki.

Patterson, a sheetrock hanger, just started a new contracting job so he does not have health insurance.

His father is also hospitalized dying of cancer, and his mother said she doesn't know where to turn.

"Pray and have a lot of faith," said Vicki. "That's all I can do."

She is hoping somehow a fund will be set up, but so far, details have not been worked out.

This is the second time in two weeks Michael Patterson has jumped in to save a life. He and another man pulled the driver of a tanker truck to safety after his rig was hit and burst into flames.

"He said he did what he thought, what he hoped, anyone else would have done for him. That's just not a very common thing anymore for anyone to care about someone they don't know."

Javea joins is still scared but unhurt. Her mother is heartsick about Michael Patterson's injuries but thankful.

"He's a hero, an angel," Carlissa said.

A hero who now needs his own angel.

A donation fund has been set up at River City Bank in Rome, Georgia to help Patterson with medical costs, as well as a Facebook page with updates on his condition.

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