CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Learning to save a life often takes years of education and training. But when someone's in immediate danger -- each second counts.
This week's hometown heroes came to the quick rescue of a man who says they're the reason he's alive.
Jeff Ashworth doesn't remember much from that hot August day after heading out on this tractor to mow some grass along his Barboursvile farm's roadside creek bed. He doesn't remember much after the fall.
“I got too close,” said Ashworth. “The bank gave away, I slid into the creek, this is the first time I've been here since my leg got pinned and I yelled for help.”
Ashworth punctured a lung, he broke bones in his back pelvis ribs and leg -- and says he was lucky.
“I was under at least 45 minutes, if not for Betty, Ciera and Mr. Pauley, I would not be talking to you right now,” said Ashworth.
Betty Woodrum was gardening at the next farm over; her granddaughter Ciera was hanging out on the porch when Betty heard a faint cry for help.
”As we ran up the driveway, Jeff hollered again, and that helped us locate him,” said Woodrum. “I sent Ciera to Mr. Pauley, he had a tractor and could help.”
“If he hadn’t heard him and dome something, we wouldn't have Jeff anymore,” said Ciera.
Across the road, Lawrence Pauley quickly got on his tractor after hooking up a pole and chain and headed for the creek bed where Ashworth was trapped.
“I had to get the tractor off him or he wouldn't survive,” said Pauley. “I had to climb down and hang on to the pig pole, had to lean over the best I could.”
That creek bed was dry except for one pool of water, and that’s where Ashworth's head and face were immersed.
“He needed help instantly to keep his head out of the water or he would have drown,” said Pauley.
With delicate use of heavy machinery, Pauley got Ashworth free and he was pulled to safety.
“If you tweak any of the circumstances, my brother would not be here right now,” said Jeff’s brother, Anthony Ashworth. “Mr. Pauley was leaving for church in 15 minutes.”
For their lifesaving actions, WSAZ.com made all three, Betty, Ciera and Lawrence, Hometown Heroes.
“We are just pawns in gods plan, he had us where he needed us that day,” said Betty.