Friday will be a year since Liberty County Commissioner Scott Phillips was critically injured in an ATV accident. As we prepare to celebrate Easter, Scott’s mother, Annette Phillips, shares the phenomenal story of how God is still in the miracle making business.
Scott Phillips and his family
BY ANNETTE PHILLIPS
Life is precious, especially when a Mom faces the uncertainty of her child’s life.
On April 18, 2013, I was in Jacksonville driving in heavy traffic on I-10 headed home. My cell phone rang, but because I was driving I decided to ignore it. A little while later, I noticed I had a voicemail and the call showed it was from my husband, Donnie. I checked it. I could tell that his voice sounded nervous and he said, “Scott and Nathan have been in a 4 wheeler accident, I don’t think it is bad but I haven’t gotten to them yet.”
He called me back quickly, and said he talked to Ryan (my son-in-law) and that Nathan (Scott’s son) was fine, and Scott may have a slight concussion and need a few stitches. A little bit later, I talked to Ryan and he assured me Nathan was fine and that he had been holding him. The ambulance was on the way to check on Scott.
The next call was from a family member that informed me they heard on the scanner Scott was being transported by helicopter to TMH with a head injury. I don't remember breathing from that point on and I have no memory how I managed to drive from Jacksonville to TMH.
Once I arrived, I could see the fear in Tammy, April (my daughters) and Donnie's eyes. They told me they were working on Scott, but I could see Nathan. To my relief, he was doing well. Next, they told us Scott was going in to surgery. The details of his injury were still vague, and at this point, I had no real understanding of what his injuries were. But, I felt like my world was crumbling apart.
I remember sitting in the surgical waiting room and it began to fill up with a lot of family and friends. I remember thinking, this is not happening, this is the kind of accident you hear about other moms/families facing.
I started talking to God and remembering when my kids were born how I thanked Him for blessing me with beautiful children. But also, as a parent, I wanted to protect them from harm and injury to the point I was consumed with worry. It was very early on in their lives, God assured me He would protect them and I need not to be consumed with worry. I needed to just trust Him and keep the faith that they are ultimately His children, and He just loans them to me while on earth.
Time seemed to stand still. The moment Dr. Lawson opened the door, he started talking and it seemed like he was saying a lot, but I could not (possibly would not) hear/understand anything he was saying.
When he stopped talking, I asked him to tell me in a way a Mama could understand what he had just said.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “Your son may not make it through the night. His ICP, (the pressure around his brain) is at 80 and it needs to be at least 25.”
I didn't hear anything from anyone from that point on, but was told everybody in the waiting room started praying at one time.
A short time later, we left the surgical waiting room to walk up to the ICU waiting room and immediately upon exiting the elevator to the 4th floor ICU, Dr. Lawson met us and said, “I don’t know how but Scott’s pressure has dropped to 25!”
God was there all the time.
* * *
Scott was in an induced coma for 12 days. We were told he would hit another critical stage approximately 72 hours post injury, and he did. His fever spiked incredibly high, his vital signs were outrageous, and we were facing uncertainty once again. But, God was there all the time!
Scott was stabilized and God began to heal his body, slowly but surely. Once they started bringing Scott out of the induced coma, we were not given a lot of hope of the outcome. Hope, however, was all around us!
One morning, I remember walking in the ICU unit after they had started to wake him and began to stimulate him; he rolled his head over with a small smile and said, “Hey Mama.” I think I could have walked on water! Those were the sweetest words that every Mother loves to hear from her children. We serve an Awesome God!
Most everyone knows what Scott and our family have gone through this past year. We had a very grim prognosis, preparing us that he may not be able to communicate, walk, personality changes, etc. God had another outcome in mind!
Scott left TMH ICU two weeks after the accident; he was transported to Brooks Rehab in Jacksonville and was told he would be there four to six months. He was there two weeks! God was there all the time.
He came home the day his daughter, Allie Hope, would be having her kindergarten graduation and was able to attend. God is awesome!
Scott started back serving on the Board of County Commissioners a short time later. He has been enjoying all the important things in his life...his family, going to church, hunting, (he was able to go on the annual hunting trip to Illinois with the guys, Dad, Ryan, Mr. Ricky Faircloth, close friends from Ft. Walton in November) and has been working his bee yards since coming home. He recently obtained bee certification from the State of Florida. The surgeon discharged him at the end of March and said he didn’t need to see him anymore! Praise God!
We have always been a close family, but through all the trials we have faced, we share an even stronger faith in our God; a resolve to live life enjoying God's greatest, most treasured blessings...each other; and share our love and faith in a living and faithful God with others!
I want all moms, dads, siblings, and friends to know that the greatest gift of life is love...Godly love! Loving your children/grandchildren more than life itself is the greatest gift you can have. Showing your children and grandchildren God is our example of real love, pure love, and faithful, true love. It is our responsibility to make sure they know God that they love Him, that they serve Him, and that they love and serve others. This is the greatest commission.
I am proud to say that Scott is and has been a Godly man. Through his experience, many lives have been touched on just how powerful God is. He has been to several churches sharing his testimony and lives to tell of God's great and mighty power. He has special plans for my son, and I am so grateful for Scott's obedience.
I am also so thankful God provided Scott with a very sweet and virtuous woman. She has been his best friend, his confidant, his biggest supporter and, most of all, a very strong help-mate to help him as he has been going through this past year of recovery. She has never complained, only giving more and more, when she had very little left to give. She exemplifies the true meaning of selfless, serving love. She has the perfect name, “Angel,” which indeed she is!
Sisters, Tammy and April – they will be the first to tell you before his accident that they could get so aggravated with him. This hasn't changed; they still have a very real brotherly-sisterly love! But the relationship is real, and it is solid. They continue to be very supportive of their brother in every way. He is known as "Precious,” and they treat him so.
Ryan, Scott's brother-in-law, has been our family's rock solid foundation this past year. We are so blessed that God brought him into our family. I know God equipped Ryan to handle all the uncertainty and trials we faced this past year. We have watched Ryan become a man after God's own heart as he grew in faithfulness and Godliness during the leadership of our family. He has not only been there for April, but for Scott, and our entire family. I recall many times that Scott would get down and wouldn’t talk; but when Ryan showed up, he and Scott would talk for hours.
Last, but not least, there's “daddy.” I think he has been the “receiving end” of all the frustration and harsh comments. They always say you lash out at the one you love the most. This is no exception. I've had to remind Donnie a few times, you told God if He would just spare Scott's life, you would tote and carry him anywhere he wanted to go. Now, Scott, or for that matter, any of the kids, can call daddy needing help, and he is there in a heartbeat.
Family and friends, and members of this great community...thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your prayers, love and support!!
April 18, 2014, will be one year ago when we were in the mercy and the hands of an Almighty God. I can't imagine a more wonderful place to be! To God be the glory for where Scott is today. He deserves our praise...and He gets all the honor and glory!
Please keep Scott and his family in your prayers as they continue to heal day by day.