A Kentucky teen who selflessly helped victims of historic floods for three days has mysteriously died after suddenly falling ill, becoming the 38th victim of the disaster.
Aaron ‘Mick’ Crawford, 18, returned home after his recovery efforts and complained of exhaustion and numbness in his arms.
He was then airlifted to University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington and placed on a ventilator, but his condition deteriorated over four days and Crawford eventually died last Friday.
The cause of Crawford’s sudden death is currently unknown as the teen was an organ donor – meaning its unclear whether his family will be able to get an autopsy report from the coroner.
The high school football player and wrestler was remembered by friends and family as a kind person with an inspiring commitment to his Christian faith.
‘He used to embarrass me because he would stop and pray for people who he didn’t know anywhere,’ his sister Rachel said.
Aaron ‘Mick’ Crawford, 18, tragically died on August 5 after mysteriously falling ill following his selfless efforts to help victims of devastating floods in Kentucky
Crawford, left, was described by his sister Rachel, right, as ‘the person I will always aspire to be.’
38 people have been recorded dead in the Kentucky disaster, but many more remain missing and governor Andy Beshear said ‘we’re going to be finding bodies for weeks’
‘He was the Christian I will always aspire to be. He was the person I will always aspire to be,’ she continued.
Crawford wasted no time jumping in to action when Kentucky, and much of the Midwest, was pelted by harsh rain and raging floodwaters last month.
‘As soon as we understood we had a major disaster going on here, he messaged me,’ said Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle, who described the teen as witty and ‘strong as a bear.’
‘I’m not sure it had even quit raining yet by the time he sent me a message on Facebook. He said, “Wanting to know where to go. Wanting to know where to help,”‘ said Engle, who was also Crawford’s pastor and friend, to CBS.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear called Crawford’s death ‘another tragic loss for Eastern Kentucky,’ and said he would mourn his ‘compassion and kindness for his neighbors’ in a series of tweets.
Services for Crawford’s funeral are scheduled for Thursday, August 10, and will be paid for by a relief fun started by Beshear for the affected areas.
Crawford, a rising junior at Knott County Central and a leader on the football and wrestling team, wished to be a conservation officer when he was older.
‘He had no enemies and hated no one,’ Rachel said to the Courier-Journal. ‘He is the closest person I’ve ever met that lived like Jesus himself.’
Crawford’s mother, Ronda, wrote on Facebook ‘I miss him already but he is home now,’ and said she ‘lost her heart.’
Crawford was described as a leader on both his high school football team and wrestling team, and for good reason – his pastor said he was as ‘strong as a bear’
Crawford, far left, is seen here with his family. Crawford’s mother Ronda said she has ‘lost her heart’
A flood warning for the area was issued last night, as Beshear warned of ‘storms moving through the area that may cause scattered instances of flash flooding.’
Bridges in the Appalachian region collapsed, isolating communities as homes were torn from their foundation as mudslides poured into the valleys.
Some areas in eastern Kentucky reported receiving more than eight inches of rain within 24 hours as the state was battered by the worst storm in its history.
The water level of the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Whitesburg rose to a staggering 20 feet within hours, well above its previous record of 14.7 feet.
The severity of the flooding left Beshear lamenting they would be ‘finding bodies for weeks,’ but assured Kentuckians ‘we’re going to work to go door to door, work to find, again, as many people as we can.’
Many have been displaced from their homes while others have been stranded without water, electricity or other critical supplies.
The floods in Kentucky have killed at least 38 and left many more without access to electricity or water, pitting rescuers in a race against time
President Biden told the people of Kentucky: ‘We’re staying until everybody’s back to where they were’
President Joe Biden has issued a disaster declaration for the Kentucky flooding, allowing federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts.
Biden forewent his formal remarks to speak off the cuff after time visiting with families affected by the floods and receiving a briefing on volunteer efforts.
He praised the spirits of the people of Kentucky and vowed the government would be there for them.
‘I promise you. We’re staying the federal government along with the state and county and the city. We’re staying until everybody’s back to where they were – not a joke,’ he said as he walked before the crowd, microphone in hand.