LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Thirty miles north of Lubbock, the town of Hale Center is celebrating two home-town heroes. Thanks to an Atmos Energy employee and a five-year-old a little boy has his life. About a month ago what was supposed to be a typical afternoon outside in the backyard took an unexpected and horrifying turn.
Tucker Redden and Michael Rangel spent hours playing in Rangel's tree house until December 17th, 2009. "The first time nothing happened. The fifth time nothing happened, but that day it did happen," says Redden who was playing that day. It was a day the two best friends, next door neighbors and classmates describe as scary. "I climbed up the tree house and the rope got around my neck and I fell down," Rangel, who thought he was going to die.
"I remember walking outside and hearing a thump and I thought that the kids were playing," says the little boy's father, Michael Rangel. That thump was the sound of 6-year-old Michael's leg kicking the slide. He was hanging halfway down the spiral slide. Somehow a piece of string got tangled around his neck, little Michael has the scar to prove it.
Five-year-old Tucker, who had blood on his hands, ran straight to the alley where Michael's father and Richard Herrera, an Atmos Energy employee were checking a meter. "I was trying to climb up and push him up the tube to get tension off his neck but I kept sliding there was no way I could get him," says Rangel who was trying to save his son's life. Panicked, he says the five minutes his son was stuck felt like an eternity.
"I could see his feet kicking and when I went in and they stopped. I could see the rope around his neck," adds Rangel who yelled for help.
Herrera says Rangel was yelling and he knew something was wrong by the way he was screaming. "I ran over to help and I saw the shadow of someone hanging in that slide so I just quickly jumped up on top (of the swing set) and had to pull him up and started to administer CPR," says Herrera who helped out.
"He was not breathing. He was passed out and I remember him giving CPR and I remember him coming back," says Rangel.
For saving Michael's life, the Hale Center City Council dedicated a day to each hero. Friday, January 8th was Tucker Redden Day and Monday, January 11th proclaimed as Richard Herrera Day.
The Rangel family says they will forever be grateful, "thank God, thank Tucker and Richard. I appreciate them so much I'd do anything for them," says Michael Rangel.
Herrera says every two years he goes through CPR training provided by Atmos and it was because of that he didn't think twice about what to do. The Rangel family is making plans to get rid of their swing set.
©2010 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.