It's just awful: Doctors say a Georgia man has been paralyzed from the waist down after hitting his head in an attempt to save a girl from drowning. Michael Patterson was at the Euharlee Creek on Saturday when he saw a 4-year-old who had been playing in the water disappear as the current grabbed her. Police say the 43-year-old immediately dove in off a dam into an area that was no more than 6 feet deep; he hit his head in the process, breaking his neck in three places and severing his spine. Amazingly, he was able to save her, his mother, Vicki Davis, tells the Cedartown Standard.
"They don't know how," she says. "The little girl was at the bottom, but they saw something push her up." The child's mother tells Fox Atlanta, "He's a god-send basically. He was there. He was supposed to have been there." Davis goes on to share the story of Patterson as a tenderhearted 8-year-old who once begged her, in a panic, for peanut butter and jelly to feed a homeless man he saw eating out of a dumpster. "He’s been like that all his life and he would give his life..." she said, breaking down. She says he actually came to another stranger's aid just two weeks ago, when a tractor-trailer and SUV were involved in a crash; one of the officers on the scene at the creek recognized him from that accident, she says. Patterson apparently started a new job as a contractor just two weeks ago and doesn't have insurance; more on how you can help here. (Read more Good Samaritan stories.)