Siblings share account of rescue of their dad

Jessica Robinson

On the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 3, Tyler Greer along with his daughter Madison, 16, and son Stetson, 10, rode out on horseback with the plan of moving cattle from Freeze Out to Meadow Creek up in Paint Rock Lakes area. If there was time, they planned on riding up to the lakes.

Their plans for the day were changed though. At Meadow Creek, Tyler’s horse bucked him off and kicked him in the face. “We didn’t see it happen, so we don’t know why the horse went haywire,” said Madison. “I heard his horse and turned around to see him on the ground trying to take off his vest and sweater.”

Madison rode over and jumped off her horse.

“My hands were shaking and I was crying,” she said. “I asked Dad if he was ok, where his phone was and what happened.”

Madison said he couldn’t remember what she had just told him. He kept asking, “What happened?”, “Where is my horse?” and “Can you guys get home?”

“I rolled him over and got his phone out of his shirt pocket,” said Madison. “I told Stetson to stay with Dad, to keep talking to him, not let him pass out and that I’d be back soon.”

She thought there was a possibility that her dad could die. She also thought that she needed to get help. “I knew Stetson and I couldn’t get dad out by ourselves so we had to do something else,” she said. “I knew someone had to call and someone had to stay with Dad. I did the most logical thing I could think of, which was for me to go call 911 and try to give them an idea of where we were at.”

Madison said she had talked with her dad a lot that day about the landmarks they were passing, so she knew the general area they were in. “I also had taken a health class that taught me how to relay important information to the 911 operator in the middle of an emergency, so it made sense for me to call and for Stetson to stay,” she added.

Madison rode up the hill in search of cell service. She said she only had to go about 100 yards. “When we’ve been on the mountain in the past, we have sometimes been able to get cell service up on hills and in clearings. We were right by a hill that was clear at the top. I decided that going up it was the best shot I had at getting ahold of someone,” she said.

She first tried to call her mother, Amber, but the call would not go through. The next thing she did was call 911, which got her in contact with the BHC Sheriff’s Office.

“I told them my situation and asked them to contact my mom. I gave them all the details I could think of,” she said.

Madison told the dispatcher where they had come from and where they were headed. “I also told them the names of places that we had passed along the way,” she said. “Mostly though, I kept calling them back every time I lost them so they could track my coordinates.”

“We had multiple calls and finally they were able to lock in my coordinates. I told them a helicopter could land there and I stayed on the phone with dispatchers until the helicopter came.”

“When the 911 operator said they dispatched Search and Rescue, I thought it would be a long time for them to find us, and that we would be lucky to get out by 10 p.m. I kept reminding myself to stay calm,” she said.

While Madison was gone, Stetson said he sat down by his dad, asked him questions and answered his questions. “I made sure he didn’t pass out and wondered when the helicopter was going to come,” he added.

Stetson also prayed while waiting.

Madison cleared her mind by thinking of a lesson about trials she learned at Bible camp she had attended the week before. “The teacher said, ‘The calm person in a trial is the one who trusts in someone bigger than themselves,’ and ‘People will realize you are calm and will listen to you because you have your wits about you.’ I trust in a God much bigger than I could ever be, so I was able not to panic. I also knew that, in the end, God knew what was happening and that he would take care of us even if Dad didn’t make it.”

“Sometimes God answers prayers in ways we do not want, but I had faith that I would see my dad again in heaven,” she said.

There was a point Madison switched out with Stetson, giving him the phone to call 911 back while Madison stayed with Tyler to ask him questions.

Madison said it took approximately an hour and a half from the time she saw her dad on the ground until the helicopter arrived.

“I was relieved to hear the helicopter when it began to circle,” she said.

Guardian Air Medical landed and the crew took Tyler’s vitals, checked him out and loaded him on the helicopter. Madison said the most helpful thing they could do was stay out of the way. The siblings took their horses to a tree and tied them up. The kids said a few things to Tyler and a hoodie was given to him to help support his head.

A member of South Big Horn Search and Rescue that had ridden in the helicopter stayed to help Madison and Stetson off the mountain. They arrived at Medicine Lodge campground around 5 p.m.

The call from the sheriff’s office

Amber was home on that day. She had been irrigating and had went in for something to eat and drink. Her father had called and she was visiting with him when, at 1:07 p.m., her phone beeped.

“I saw BIG HORN COUNTY on my caller ID,” she said. “I wondered “Big Horn County…public health, library, sheriff?” I told my dad I needed to take the call.”

“My heart sank when I heard them on the other line, “This is the Big Horn County Sheriff. We got a call from your daughter that your husband has been in a horse accident.”

Dispatch added Deputy Anthony Giles to the line. Amber said she asked if she could add her father-in-law because he would know more about where Tyler and the kids were headed that day.

After a four-way call, it was decided Amber would ride with Deputy Giles up the mountain to see if they could locate the scene of the accident. Allison, the Greers’ other daughter, was at work, so Amber called and asked Allison’s boss to refer the information to her. Amber contacted a family friend to come to be with their other son, Dawson.

Amber said they went to the general area of the accident on the mountain and listened on the radio for details on the coordinates. “We heard the helicopter land and take off, but could never see it because of the trees we were in,” she said. “I had a great sense of relief at that point as I knew Tyler was headed for care. My focus then turned to getting the kids home.”

When the kids came out at the campground, Amber said they were in good spirits and smiling. They put the horses up at the lodge, loaded up and headed down the mountain.

On the way down, Amber said she got a call from Billings Clinic that Tyler would need to go to Salt Lake City to the University of Utah Hospital surgeons. “The nurse told me that they had found no swelling of the brain, his vitals were unwavering, and his organs were undamaged. She told me, at that point, nothing was life threatening, but that he had severe facial structure damage.”

When they got to the house, Amber’s mother-in-law was there to stay with the kids. Amber packed her bags that evening and left early the next morning, arriving in Salt Lake just before Tyler went into reconstructive surgery on his face that afternoon.

“Tyler successfully went through surgery and is happy to be put back together again,” said Amber.

A laceration was sewed up on Tyler’s cheek. The surgeons plated his left jaw and one of his cheekbones along with wiring the mouth together so the upper right jaw can heal. “The doctors explained that they fixed the main bones and that they are relying on the body to repair the many other small breaks,” Amber said.

When Amber asked what was broken exactly, they replied, “His whole face. If there is a bone in there that could break, it did.”

Amber said they will be back to Salt Lake soon to see an ophthalmologist plastic surgeon. Other appointments will follow into the fall and winter.

Time of reflection

“When I look at the picture of how bad Tyler looked or the video that Madison took of the helicopter leaving, it makes my heart sink all over again, and I think, ‘How did the kids handle this so well?’” Amber said.

Amber believes that they did what they knew they had to do. “They relied on each other. They relied on their faith. We are proud of Madison and Stetson for how they kept their minds focused on what needed to be done, how they took control of the situation, how they worked together, and they didn’t crumple under pressure.”

Amber added they couldn’t go without mentioning how their other two kids, Allison and Dawson, did during this event. She said they didn’t know about Tyler’s condition until after 6:30 p.m. “They were not there at the accident, but they were amazing in their cooperation and understanding.”

The Greers have also talked that while this was a terrible accident, the results could have been worse. “We rejoice that Tyler is still here and that our kids didn’t have to witness the loss of his life,” said Amber.

Amber continued, “When we think of all of the ’what ifs’ it is evident to us that God was present in this whole situation. Madison didn’t give into fear, Stetson listened to her direction, Tyler was responsive, the accident happened where the helicopter could land, the cell phone was in Tyler’s pocket (not on the horse that fled the scene), the phone call went through and gave coordinates, the helicopter located the accident without issues, there was a Search and Rescue member on the helicopter that walked the kids out, it happened early in the day so we were not fighting the clock for daylight, I was home when the sheriff’s office called, people who came to help were available, Tyler was sent to the best care facility available, and while the damage to his face is extensive, it is repairable. We praise God for all this!”

The Greers are humbled by all of the prayers, love and support for their family. “Our recovery road has been bumpy and it will not go without more issues along the way, but we know that it will all work out and that our God will not leave us or forsake us. He will continue to hold us in the palm of His hand!”

They are thankful for the medical staff, search and rescue team, the sheriff’s office, dispatch, and their family and friends.

A GoFundMe was established to help pay for Tyler’s medical expenses. As of Tuesday, the fund has reached $10,840.

The message Madison and Stetson want to send out is for people to be prepared for accidents, but to not live in fear. They say to stay calm because that is the best way to help in emergency situations. They added that you can be scared and cry, but do not lose control.

Another thing they want people know is that 911 can be called on any phone, even if there is no SIM card or carrier. It will also go through if there is a little signal and people can text 911.

Finally, they say that God knows everything that is going to happen and He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose” as it says in Romans 8:28.