WARRENTON, Ga. - Bosie Bass feared the worst on Monday, March 9, when his portable wheelchair slipped off the pavement along Norwood Street, causing him to go face-first into a deep, cold water-filled ditch.
"I could have drowned," said a humble Mr. Bass during a recent interview with The McDuffie Mirror. "I was in mud and water. I don't know what would have happened if those three boys and men hadn't come along."
The three young men, all brothers and students at Warren County High School, included Ricky Jones, Jr., 18, a senior; Ricardo Jones, 16, a freshman; and Rictavious Jones, 15, a freshman. Four men, one of whom was taking the Jones' brothers to school that morning because they had missed the bus, also assisted in helping Mr. Bass to safe grounds and medical attention. They included Jimmie Landers, Danny Williams, Frank Ficklin and Johnny Hudson.
"They jumped out and got me out," recalled Mr. Bass. "I told them, 'thank you' for getting me out."
The 63-year-old Mr. Bass, retired from Georgia Pacific in Warrenton after 24 years, said he regards the people who helped him and possibly saved his life as heroes.
"They're all heroes in my book," said Mr. Bass, who has a muscle disease and has been wheelchair-bound for a little over a year. "I appreciate what they all did for me. I'll never forget it."
At the time of the accident, Mr. Bass was strolling to the dialysis center in Warrenton. After being rescued, Mr. Bass was taken to his home about 2 1/2 blocks away to wash up and put on dry clothes. He later felt that he should be checked by personnel with the Warren County Emergency Medical Services to see whether he had received any injuries. He later was taken by ambulance to University Hospital in Augusta where he was checked.
"They just said I was a little shaken up, but that nothing was broken," said Mr. Bass, who received a right wrist injury. "I'm still a little sore all over."
The Jones brothers say it's an experience they'll never forget.
"God just put us in the right place at the right time," said Rictavious Jones. "We may have never seen him if we had came by a few minutes earlier or later and things would have been worse for him."
He believes it was meant for him and his brothers to be late that morning and that they took the same route that the school bus usually takes to get them to school.
After missing the bus that morning, the oldest of the brothers, Ricky, Jr., telephoned Mr. Landers, a family friend and mentor, to see if he'd take them to school.
Without hesitation, Mr. Landers, who has served in three different branches of the military, including the U.S. Marine Corps, left his home in Mesena and drove to Warrenton to get the boys to school.
"I was more than glad to do what I could do to help them," said Mr. Landers, who is known as a community mentor to a number of youth and teenagers in Warrenton and nearby Thomson. "I love helping kids. I love giving back in any way that I can to the community."
Mr. Landers said he was real proud of the Jones' brothers and what they did to help someone in need.
"I'm very proud of them, too," said the boys' father, Ricky Jones, Sr., who works as a firefighter at Augusta Regional Airport. "I'm very proud to call them my sons."
During a special ceremony last Wednesday in the media center at the school, Shontier Barnes, assistant principal, presented each of the Jones' brothers with certificates commending them for their heroic acts.