Crawford Hicks, a B-17 pilot who was shot down and held prisoner by the Germans in World War II, is once again showing that he’s a survivor.
Hicks, 96, is recovering in the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin from second degree burns suffered when he fell in the driveway of his Warner Robins home a couple of weeks ago. He remained there on scorching pavement unable to get up. Hicks said he was there for at least a half hour but his wife, Edna, believes it was close to an hour.
She was sewing in a closed off back room of the house and couldn’t hear him calling for help, while no one was driving down the street to see him, he said. Finally two men driving by saw him, got him up and alerted his wife.
“It just broke my heart when I saw him,” she said. “He was going into shock at that point.”
He was taken to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta with wounds so serious that cadaver skin had to be placed over the injuries. He was headed back to the center Tuesday for further treatment to remove the cadaver skin and determine whether his own skin needed to be grafted.
Exactly when he will get to come home will depend on how things go Tuesday, he said, but he expects it will be at least a few more days before he is released. Either way, he said he is expected to make a full recovery. He hopes to be home and recovered enough to attend a large event honoring POWs in Warner Robins Sept. 15-16th.
Hicks said he was taking his dog to the veterinarian about mid-afternoon when the fall happened. He reached for the car door and when he did, he lost his grip and fell backwards onto his side. He hit his head but he said he did not pass out, although his wife wasn’t so sure about that. He fell on the dog’s leash so the dog couldn’t go anywhere either.
Although there wasn’t anything he could do, he said his military training did help him with his frame of mind.
“My military training helped to say hey, stuff happens, and you do what you can with what you have,” he said. “When you were flying combat, you had to do it and you did the best you could with whatever you got.”
He said when he recovers, he plans to keep driving and doing things on his own, if his wife will let him. He said he wants to live to be 101 and still be driving.
Speaking by phone from his hospital bed in Dublin on Monday, he had high praise for the VA.
“I have gotten such tremendously good treatment,” he said. “The food here at the VA is outstanding.”