Former Shawnee Mayor left stranded outside from fall rescued by ‘Kansas City Star' delivery man

SHAWNEE, Kan. - Former Shawnee, Kan., Mayor Tom Soetaert lay in his garage for almost an hour before receiving help from the newspaper delivery man.

The 77-year-old man was taking out the trash Monday morning in the sub-freezing temperatures when he fell and could not get up.

He managed to crawl to his open garage before Jeff Stockwell, a delivery man for the Kansas City Star, arrived.

"It's not my usual route," Stockwell explained. "I'm doing this route until we find a permanent replacement."

Soetaert's relatives were glad Stockwell was on the job that day. "We are so grateful," Soetaert's daughter Julie King said. "Jeff was at the right place at the right time, and my dad is going to be fine because of it."

Stockwell said when he drove by the home he heard something that sounded like a cat. "When I drove by the second time, I saw the garage door was open, and the trash can was overturned," he explained. "I knew something wasn't right."

Soetaert was unable to stand up but he managed to drag himself  into the shelter of the open garage where he  opened the car door and blew the horn. No one responded.

Stockwell says after he pulled over, he could hear Soetaert calling for help. "I dialed 911 and with the help of paramedics, we pulled him into the house where they checked his vital signs and then took him to the hospital," he explained.

"It's a good feeling to know that I helped someone," Stockwell said. "I'm just really glad that I followed my instincts to check out the situation."

Soetaert was treated for hypothermia; his body temperature was 92-degrees and hypothermia is defined as a body temperature 95-degrees or lower. Relatives say he's now alert and is expected to make a full recovery.

Soetaert's family personally thanked Stockwell for helping their dad, and vowed he would never be taking out the trash in the freezing cold again.

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