Voice Of Deseret needs not wait until the end of November to select its newest Hero Of The Month. On November 3rd, 2008, the Ogden Standard-Examiner reported on a selfless act of heroism unlikely to be topped. Also reported by KSL Channel 5.
John Robinson, a first-grader at Madison Elementary School, has second- and third-degree burns on 20 percent of his body and faces a painful healing process. Much of his upper body is bandaged and his parents will have to clean his wounds twice a day for at least the next 45 days. The process is necessary for healing, but excruciatingly painful.
How did this happen? On October 23rd, John saw his two-year-old younger brother open the oven door and try to climb onto the stove in the kitchen. Concerned about the possibility that his little brother might pull down a five-quart pot of boiling water on the stove, John rushed across the kitchen to prevent it.
Unfortunately, the stove, which was not bolted to the floor, tipped over, and the pot of boiling water came tumbling down. It missed the two-year-old, but spilled on John's left side, causing the burns. But despite the pain and suffering, John is upbeat and says he'd do it again.
"I feel lucky that my little brother didn't get hurt," John said. "I'd go through it all over again to save my brother."
The Robinsons took John to the burn unit at University Medical Center in Salt Lake City, where he spent four days. He will soon be able to go back to school, but his doctors told the family they are still unsure how much permanent damage the burns will cause and that recovery will require weekly doctor visits once a week for at least the next few months.
John's mother, Amber Robinson, said the accident could have been much worse and that she now wants to warn parents that the kitchen presents several potential hazards for young children. On the night John was burned, Amber said she was boiling a pot of corn-on-the-cob and turned her back for just a moment to get plates out of a cabinet. When she looked back after hearing a crashing noise, the water had burned off skin on most of John's left arm and shoulder, his chest and under his chin. "I think I cried all night," she said. "I thought it was my fault and I could have prevented it".
The family moved into the home less than a year ago and the stove that tipped over was not bolted to the floor. Since the accident, Robinson asked the landlord to secure the stove to keep it from toppling again. KSL reports that the landlord has now secured the stove. While the article does not specifically describe the stove, it is most likely a free-standing kitchen stove like the one shown below. In February 2008, to settle a $546 million class action suit, Sears agreed to recall free-standing kitchen stoves sold between 2000-2007 without installing anti-tip brackets to stabilize them. In some cases, merely opening the oven door and placing a turkey on the open door was enough to cause the stove to tip over.
Amber Robinson said her son's care is covered by Medicaid, but she still is unsure how much the insurance program will cover. John's four-day stay at the burn unit, added to the cost of weekly doctor visits to Salt Lake City, could put a major strain on the family. As a result, the family is asking for donations to help pay for John's medical bills and has left collection containers at the 7-11 on 24th Street and Monroe Boulevard and the One-Stop Smoke Shop on 21st Street and Harrison Boulevard, both in Ogden. KSL also reports that an account for donations has been set up at Wells Fargo, but provides no other details. If you visit your nearest Wells Fargo branch, and explain that you want to contribute to the special account for "John Robinson, the boy who got burned in Ogden", they should be able to accept your donation on the basis of that information alone.
What makes this heroic is not only the selfless act, but the boy's attitude after the fact. Despite knowing the recovery ordeal awaiting him, he states he would do it again. What a trooper! And a hat tip to his parents for instilling such ideals within him.