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Strengthened by the Presence of God

First responders arrive at a head-on collision in Rocky Mount, VA. With one driver already pronounced dead, EMT Sarah Pruitt was immediately directed to the second vehicle, where 53-year-old Ron Clock, was pinned upside-down, barely breathing.

Sarah says, “With the severity of everything that was going on with him, I definitely thought that he-he could die before we even got him out of the car. I told the guys who were working on the other side of the truck, ‘Please hurry.’”

Once free from the wreckage, they stabilized his two collapsed lungs before airlifted him to Carilion Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, VA. It was then that Ron’s mother, Geri, received a phone call with the news.

Geri said, “I knew at that point that it was bad. They were fighting to keep him, he was pretty close to dead.”

As Geri and her husband started the 8-hour drive to the hospital, she started calling friends and family asking for prayer.

Geri said, “I know what prayer cover does. Because when God's people pray, you know, I know from experience things change. Because at that point we didn't, you know, we really thought we'd probably lose Ron that day.”

Once at the hospital, doctors told them the severity of Ron’s many injuries.

Dr. Schuler said, “So his Glasgow Coma Scale was a 4, which is pretty low. And then when you have both of your chest cavities crushed, uh all those things add into it.  So he-he definitely had a life-threatening set of injuries.”

“It was just hard to see him that way,” Geri said. “So broken. His body was so broken. He had tubes coming out of his nose, his mouth, his – he had tubes in his lungs.”

For the next week, Ron underwent several surgeries to repair his broken hip and pelvis bones. But doctors were still concerned with the injury to his head and neck. After several MRIs and CAT scans, they confirmed a suspicion- that Ron had suffered an Atlanto-occipital dislocation, more commonly known as an internal decapitation. Neurosurgeon Eric Marvin was amazed he survived the accident.

Dr. Marvin said, “A lot of patients that end up dying in-in bad car accidents because of cervical trauma, a lot of this is because Atlanto – Atlanto-occipital dislocations, its, if you have a spinal cord injury at that level, you stop breathing, your heart stops working and you die.

Geri said, “It was just utter shock. I mean, I had never heard of such a thing…of anybody surviving something like that.”

As Ron was prepped for surgery to reattach his skull to his spine, Dr. Marvin explained to the family what to expect.

Dr. Marvin explained, “The expectations that he's going to be up and walking and going back to work and going to the gym five days a week is that-that kinda thought process doesn't even enter into that kind of conversation.”

As family and friends continued to reach out on Facebook and pray for Ron’s healing, Geri believed God was not done with him yet.

Geri said, “I wrote in my journal a prayer, ‘God, please heal Ron, let him live.’ And then at the bottom I put, ‘For your Glory,’ I wanted him to live, and then I wanted God to get uh glorified.”

The surgery was a success, and three weeks later, Ron started to show signs of improvement. 

Ron said, “The first thing I remember [was] my brother Steve saying, ‘Ron, if you understand me, just blink your eyes once.’ I remember doing that and I remember Steve just grinning from ear to ear and laughing he said, ‘Yep, he's back.  He's in there.  He's here.’"

Geri said, “It was, an incredible feeling to know that, I wasn't gonna lose one of my sons. It was incredible gratefulness to God.

It was still uncertain if Ron would ever walk again, but he knew that God had not abandoned him. In fact, he felt God’s presence more than ever before.

Ron said, “I always had a sense of a presence, of a strength, uh outside of myself that didn't come from me. And I knew that, you know, I was walking with God. There was never a question of that for me.” 

Strengthened by the presence of God, and the prayers of family and friends, Ron worked hard in rehab, and was soon taking his first steps since the accident.

Geri said, “It's just such an incredible God-given miracle, you know, that He's done for our family.”

Dr. Marvin said, “So for a person to have a fairly profound spinal cord injury and then completely walk out of the hospital, it's pretty impressive.”

Ron still experiences stiffness and pain in his body from the surgeries, but has no brain damage or paralysis. He can’t stop giving all the Glory to God for preserving his life.

Ron said, “Detail after detail after detail, I should have been dead. That changes you. It's a deeper trust in a living God that protects even every step I take. I'm still here.  Still standing, by the grace of God, I'm still standing.”

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