To Bonnie Chepulis, there are two reasons her elk hunting husband, John, is still alive after a horse wreck in the Madison Range on Oct. 30.
“To me, this said the biggest planner in all of this was God,” she said. “It was a faith journey and a technological journey.”
John Chepulis is attached to a respirator to help him breathe after breaking 10 of the 12 ribs on his right side. The injuries were life-threatening – including a punctured right lung and air in his chest cavity. What’s more, he was nine miles into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area when the accident occurred.
Luckily, only days before Bonnie had made John buy a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. The small handheld devices can send an SOS that includes the GPS coordinates of the victim. This is where technology intervened to save John.
By pushing the button, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office was contacted. Sheriff Dave Schenk called the Summit Air Ambulance service in Bozeman which sent its helicopter and medical crew directly to the site. The result was cutting the rescue time from an entire day down to two-and-a-half hours.
John still has a long recovery ahead of him. But Bonnie sees the incident as an opportunity to educate others about the benefits of the small satellite messenger.
To read the full story, check out The Billings Gazette’s Outdoors website.
This post was provided by Brett French, Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette.