May 28, 2008 Edition

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Young boy is grandmother's hero

Cillian Tillman listens as his grandmother, Shirley Brannon, talks about her experience when she fell at her home, breaking her wrist and shattering a bone in her leg. Cillian helped his grandmother by bringing her a phone and unlocking the door for a family member.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt
Gretchen Hunt

On April 16, Shirley Brannon of Walnut Ridge was having a normal day at home babysitting her three-year-old grandson, Cillian Tillman.

They were in the bedroom when she fell from her bed, landing hard, breaking her wrist and shattering a bone in her leg.

They were the only two in the house as Shirley's husband, James, was not at home at the time.

Shirley was unable to move and did not have a telephone in reach, according to her stepdaughter, Darlene Brannon, also of Walnut Ridge.

"Cillian asked if she was OK, and she told him no," Darlene said. "So, he ran and got the cordless phone for her."

Shirley used the phone to call her niece, Henrietta Williams, who lives next door, but there was still another obstacle to overcome, the front door was locked and had a child-safety latch on it.

"Cillian unlocked the door for Henrietta," Darlene said.

Shirley said he had to use his shoe to knock the plastic safety latch off the doorknob.

"They were running around the yard hysterical because the door was locked," Shirley said. "After they got in, he said, 'Now we have to call the ambulance.'"

Darlene said that when Shirley's niece got inside she was able to determine that her injuries were in fact serious enough to warrant an ambulance and called 911 and James.

Shirley was transported by Medic One to St. Bernards, where she was treated for her injuries. Surgery was required, and she now has a rod in her arm and two in her leg.

The day started out normally with Shirley taking care of her grandson, but in the end Cillian got a chance to take care of his grandma.

On Thursday, Medic One personnel visited the Brannon residence again ~ this time to honor Cillian for his actions. He received a toy, balloons and a certificate that stated, "Awarded to Cillian Tillman for his bravery during an emergency. We are so proud of you. Medic One Ambulance Service."

Cillian is the son of Michael and Kristin Tillman of Walnut Ridge.

In addition to being honored as a hero by Medic One, Cillian has the admiration of his grandmother.

"I really don't know what I would have done that day if he hadn't been here," she said.

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