‘My life is a miracle’ says Jessica McClure

Published 3:31 pm Saturday, October 21, 2017

On Oct. 14, 1987, an 18-month-old girl named Jessica McClure fell into an eight inch wide, 22 foot long shaft of an abandoned well in Midland, Texas. She was trapped underground for almost 60 hours.

Hundreds of emergency responders began working feverishly to save baby Jessica’s life by drilling another shaft nearby. They dropped a microphone into the well and heard Jessica singing “Winnie the Pooh” from time to time, so they knew she was alive.

The entire nation watched 58 hours of continuous coverage on television as rescuers used a high pressure water drill to cut through the rock. People everywhere were praying for “Baby Jessica.”

I can still picture this dramatic moment. As Time Magazine reports, “The image endures: a grimy paramedic emerging from the rescue shaft cradling a bundle in his arms — Jessica alive, swaddling bandages hiding all but her nose, her pitifully battered arms, her frightened eyes and wisps of blond hair. The child’s right foot was badly injured, though on Saturday doctors were optimistic about not having to amputate, and she may require cosmetic surgery to repair damage to her forehead.”

Time Magazine goes on to say, “Jessica had to have a toe amputated because of gangrene from loss of circulation while she was in the well and had several surgeries over the years. But life went on.” She graduated from high school in 2004, married and is now the mother of two children.

Thirty years later, Jessica works as an assistant to a special education teacher in an elementary school in Midland, Texas. In an interview with People Magazine, she says she still answers to “Baby Jessica” from friends and strangers in her hometown. Though she states she has no memory of the incident, she believes, “I had God on my side that day. My life is a miracle.”

People Magazine writes that Jessica’s “injuries sustained from the fall are barely noticeable; she has a small scar on her forehead and her right foot is smaller than her left foot because it had to be reconstructed after it became gangrenous while it was “above her head during the entire episode.”

When she turned age 25, Jessica received a trust fund of $800,000 donated by “Good Samaritans” following the incident. She and her husband reportedly purchased a house with a large backyard where they are raising their children.

Now her children, ages nine and seven, are old enough to understand what happened to her and have seen pictures of her amazing rescue. “Jessica says she hopes they learn from her rescue ‘to always be humble. And to remember that if you look hard enough, there are so many good people in this world.’”

It’s been said, “Where there is life, there is hope.” That’s one reason rescuers worked around the clock to save Baby Jessica. And, as Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us,” You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:47).



Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com.