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Illinois musher credited with saving child in Ruby

Posted: March 14, 2012 - 12:01am

NOME — Pat Moon says he didn’t do anything that any other Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher wouldn’t have done; he just happened to be the guy who scratched.

Moon is being credited by a family with saving a child who was severely hurt in a sledding accident in Ruby on Sunday.

Moon had just scratched and was headed to the checkpoint in Ruby. “They weren’t having any fun,” he said of the team, which was beat up from tough winter training in Unalakleet.

The Park Ridge, Ill., musher walked to the checkpoint to fill out the paperwork to scratch. About 20 minutes later a woman came in looking for a village police officer.

The woman said her son was sledding, and couldn’t stop before slamming into a parked snowmachine, according to an email sent to an Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race official by the wounded boy’s aunt.

He “split his head open pretty good,” said Moon, whose had EMT training as an firefighter in Chicago.

The woman asked if anyone at the musher checkpoint could attend her son.

“I said, ‘I might be able to help. I’m not an emergency room doctor, but I can look at it,’” Moon told The Associated Press by cellphone from Unalakleet.

He said the boy suffered from a pretty significant head laceration. He was able to clean the wounds and put in butterfly sutures on the face and head.

“When he got to the house, he calmed everyone down, stopped the bleeding, cleaned the cut, and applied what was needed to help stop the bleeding and hold the face together,” the boy’s aunt said in the email. The family has asked not to be identified.

“Without Pat, we would have lost a family member,” she wrote.

Moon played down his role in the boy’s care. “There’s a finite point of what I can do. I’m just kind of a dog musher,” he said.

He also said he did nothing extraordinary.

“I would venture that any of the other 65 participants in in the race would have done the same thing. I just happened to be the one standing there.”

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