Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Birth of Sparky

Bradford William Pack

my husband

I think the word "miracle" gets used so often to describe events that it can lose it's true meaning which is

an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all human or natural powers and is ascribed to be an act of God.  

While I'm willing to acknowledge that a beautiful sunset is an act of God, I wouldn't necessarily call it extraordinary, especially if it's in New Mexico where all sunsets are beautiful.
Plus, we can't really say sunsets surpass natural powers because "Molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of light rays, causing them to scatter and resulting in colorful sunsets."

But that doesn't keep us from enjoying them.

Fortunately, my husband is a bona fide miracle.  When my husband was 11, he died. Obviously he came back to life or else I never would have become a certain Englishman's wife.  Here's the story.


Bradford was living in Salt Lake City with his brothers and sisters.  His younger brother, David, was outside flying his kite practicing for a Cub Scout kite-flying contest.  Suddenly his kite got stuck in a tree.  Dave ran inside the house to ask Bradford to help him get it down.

Bradford saw that the kite was way up high near some power lines.  So he grabbed an aluminum ladder and found a long metal pole to knock the kite free from the trees.  As an 11-year old, he knew that power lines could be dangerous so he was careful not to touch them.  What he didn't know was that  electricity could actually jump from the lines over to the pole.  Which it did.

The electricity went through the pole, entered Bradford through his hands, and then exited out Bradford's right shin which was leaning against a step on the ladder.  The shock stopped Bradford's heart, and he fell off the ladder.

What happened next is what makes this event so extraordinary.

David, seeing the entire event, began to scream.  Luckily, his scream was a very high-pitched scream that could be heard by...

a neighbor who was outside doing yard work who the night before...

had taken a CPR refresher course and who also...

happened to be married to a doctor.

She rushed over to find Bradford lying on the ground and performed CPR until the ambulance arrived.  They continued to work on him and took him to the hospital.  Fortunately, they were finally able to get his heart beating again.  Unfortunately, they weren't able to do any more than that.  Bradford wasn't conscious and wasn't responding.

What happened next is what makes this event something that surpasses human powers and be an act of God.

Another neighbor family knelt together to pray for Bradford.  Their father, Hugh Pinnock, worked in downtown Salt Lake (about 20 minutes away) as a General Authority for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He had just talked to his wife and said that he was on his way home.

Now when Hugh said he was "on his way home" that didn't mean he would get there in 20 minutes.  That meant he was leaving his office and would eventually come home, but sometimes that took up to 2 hours.  The reason why is because he usually would stop and visit people to see if they needed anything.  Knowing this, the family knelt in prayer and prayed that Hugh would come straight home.  (Remember this was in 1979 before cell phones.)

He was home within minutes.  His wife told Hugh what had happened and he rushed over to the hospital.  When he inquired as to Bradford's status he was told that they had been able to get his heart beating again but nothing else.  He was completely unresponsive.

Hugh laid his hands on Bradford's head and gave him what our church calls a priesthood blessing.  As he was finishing the blessing, Hugh said that Bradford let out a long sigh.  Within seconds he was moving around so much the doctors and nurses had to restrain him.

The next morning on his way into work, Hugh stopped by the hospital to see how Bradford was doing.  The nurses said, "Oh, haven't you heard?  Brad is on his way out, he's not doing well at all."  Hugh decided to administer another priesthood blessing.  Five days later Bradford was home from the hospital; a week later he was back in school.

With a new nickname.  Sparky.

To fully understand the severity of this electrocution, I think it is helpful to know what Bradford was like before and how he was different after.

Before Bradford was electrocuted, he was a whiz in school, especially at math.  His math teacher would have the kids play a competition math game.

Here's how the game was played.  Each contestant would draw four cards and lay them on the table.

Then another card was flipped over and each person using the 4 numbers on their own cards, had to create an equation so that the answer matched the number on the target card.

For example:

5  x  2  +  3  -  4  =  9 

Whoever came up with an equation first, won.  Bradford who was a straight-A student, would frequently win this game.  He was considered the student to beat.

When Bradford returned to school after the electrocution, he had difficulty winning the game.  He didn't even have interest in even playing it.  Additionally, his grades went from A's down to B's.  He never was an A student again.

But his low grades didn't stop him.

He graduated from BYU in Economics.

He graduated from University of Texas-Austin with a master's in Accounting.

Where he was awarded "Most Outstanding Student"

He passed the necessary exams and became a Certified Management Accountant.  

After years of working for small start-up technology companies, he started his own consulting business as a CFO for hire.

He's a walking miracle.  And I'm grateful he's alive.  Because he's mine.

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