He’s only 10 but Jake Ellison “did all the right things” — and kept a cool head — when it came to getting help for his family after their car left the road this side of the divvy and plunged to the bottom of a steep, slippery bank.
Not only did the Raglan youngster get himself and his six-year-old brother unbuckled and out of their upturned car, then back up the bank to safety, but he had the foresight to take with him his mother Karen’s handbag containing her cellphone and Tristan’s schoolbag with a few toys in it. He also, says Karen — who was trapped in the driver’s seat with a broken shoulder, drifting in and out of consciousness — turned off the ignition and pocketed the car keys.
“A total gem” was how she proudly described this week her oldest son, who recently received a special award at Raglan Area School in recognition of his bravery.
Karen remains incredulous at the way he acted and kept it all together, with hardly a tear apparently, until the drama was over.
She admits they were all screaming for help after their jeep went out of control, crashed through a fence and rolled 40-odd metres down a bank when they were on the way to Hamilton.
It was very, very wet, she remembers.
Thanks to Jake, who alerted passers-by once he’d scrambled back up to the road in the rain with Tristan in tow, Karen was freed from her vehicle and carried to safety by two men she believes are from Raglan, and taken to hospital by ambulance.
“They were just brilliant people … they went out of their way (to help),” she says gratefully now from her Whale Bay home.
Meanwhile the plucky year six student has taken in his stride a special presentation of a carved taiaha on a glass stand by Raglan Area School, in honour of his “courage, strength and mana”.
The words inscribed on the trophy acknowledge the support he showed for his family in a time of crisis.
Syndicate leader Celia Risbridger told the Chronicle Jake was indeed a role model, displaying an “awesome” sense of responsibility. His father Rhys says the Maori carving now takes pride of place in the Ellison household. He’d been called to the scene from his wife’s cellphone soon after the accident. Jake had even thought to have Rhys’s business card on him.
“He did all the right things…we’re pretty proud,” says Rhys, who wonders if his own father, the late Dr Tom Ellison, was watching over them all that eventful day.