Guardian Angel Saves Priest

Monday, March 7, 2011 - 4:20pm

Church worker climbs into flooded ravine to save priest after fall.

Terry Leahy can smile now about the bone-chilling torture he endured to help save the life of his friend this weekend.

"I've kidded people," Leahy said Sunday evening, "that yeah, I was sent there to keep an eye on him."

Leahy, a maintenance man at Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church in Litchfield, Ohio was surveying flood damage to a washed-out dam and bridge near the church with Reverend Edward Weist and another priest Saturday afternoon.

Leahy saw Rev. Weist lose his footing and tumble 25 feet from the edge of a ravine into a rushing, rain-swollen creek.

"Father Ned was at the bottom yelling that he thought he broke his leg," said Leahy. "He was laying flat on his back in about two feet of water.

"He was kind of getting low in the water," Leahy said.

With water nearly covering the priest's face, Leahy handed his cell phone to the other priest and made his way down the ravine.

Worried about Rev. Weist possibly drowning, Leahy lifted the priest's head and neck out of the water for 45 minutes until firefighters arrived.

"I got him from behind and put my elbows on my knees and held him in position," Leahy said. "Yeah, it was cold. I was treated for almost hypothermia."

The two men prayed while they waited for help to arrive.

Leahy said that he kept talking to Rev. Weist to make sure that he didn't go into shock.

"He would have reciprocated," Leahy said. "He would have done the same thing for me without a doubt."

Sunday, Weist was listed in good condition at MetroHealth Medical Center.

According to Leahy, Weist suffered a broken leg and a broken wrist in the fall.

Leahy said that he's known Rev. Weist for 42 years and called him a good friend.

Leahy said that two weeks ago Rev. Weist battled through a heavy snowstorm to administer Last Rites to his mother-in-law.

When asked what could have happened if he wasn't around to help the priest Saturday, Leahy had a simple reply.

"He would have drowned."

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