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Heartland woman thanks Meals on Wheels employee for saving her life

Heartland women thanks Meals on Wheels employee for saving her life (Photo: Amber Draper/KTVO)

It started out as a normal morning for 87-year-old Mary Merritt on July 31.

As usual, she woke up, fed her cats, and walked down her pathway that led to her pond to feed her fish.

But in an instant, her morning quickly turned upside down.

Merritt says it started when the sun hit her eyes.

“All of a sudden, the ground was going around, my head started spinning. I said oh my gosh, what’s happening? I think I’m going down.”

After that moment, Merritt says she remembers a forceful fall.

“I was laying in the pond with my arms out, like I’m sitting in a hot tub jacuzzi, a little bath. I thought what just happened.”

Except for Merrit's head, her entire body was submerged in the cold pond water.

“I remember calling everyone’s name in the neighborhood.”

But no one heard Merrit's calls.

“I thought nobody’s listening. Lady you better think and get your thinking cap on and figure a way out of here because nobody’s coming.”

After almost two hours, Merritt saw someone drive in her driveway.

It was Tina Garr, an employee who works for Meals on Wheels and delivers Mary's lunch on a daily basis.

Garr says when she arrived, she had a feeling something was wrong.

“I come running in the house, checking the house to see if Mary was in here and I kept yelling Mary, Mary, Mary, and nobody was here and I didn’t see nobody."

That's when Garr went outside to Merritts backyard.

“So I looked around the yard, and then I heard a faint voice. So I glanced over the pond and there she was laying in the pond. So I went running over there.”

The first thing Garr did was get Merritt out of the cold water.

“So I got her underneath my arms and lifted her up to one rock, and then I scooted back up behind her again and lifted her up to the top of the pond.”

Once Merritt was in the grass, Garr called 911 and Merritt was successfully taken to the hospital.

Merritt says before Garr arrived, officials told Merritt she only had a 10% chance of surviving.

Merritt says Garr saved her life.

Merritt did suffer a broken hip and was in the hospital for about 7 weeks.

Following surgery, Merritt says she believed in a speedy recovery.

“I said, well let’s get this show on the road. And I got up the next day after the operation and I could walk.”

Merritt says without Garr, she may not have made it.

Merritt says Garr is more than someone who just delivers her meals, but is more like a daughter.

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