Vancouver Eagle Scout helps homeless community, saves grandfathe - KPTV - FOX 12

Vancouver Eagle Scout helps homeless community, saves grandfather

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Brandon Miller in front of the new playground equipment at Share Homestead. (KPTV) Brandon Miller in front of the new playground equipment at Share Homestead. (KPTV)
Brandon Miller and his grandfather Jerry Lehman. (KPTV) Brandon Miller and his grandfather Jerry Lehman. (KPTV)

There’s something special about Brandon Miller.

When the Vancouver Eagle Scout was selecting his service project he knew exactly what he wanted to do: build a playground at a local shelter for kids who are homeless.

He turned to Share Homestead, a shelter for kids and families in NE Vancouver, and raised $1,700 to make the project a reality.

On an October day last fall, Brandon, along with his father and grandfather, picked up a load of concrete. His father suggested he ride back with him, but Brandon wanted to ride with his grandpa Jerry.

“I just had this feeling that I should ride with him, I don’t know, just nagging me in the back of my head like, ‘Ride with Grandpa,’” Brandon told Fox 12.

It turned out to be a potentially life-saving decision.

The two were just off Northeast Stapleton and Fourth Plain Boulevard heading toward SR 500, when:

“We started veering over toward this white car and I looked over at Grandpa and his head was tilting back,” Brandon recalled. “I thought he must be joking – then within a second I realized no, something’s wrong.”

He didn’t know it then, but his grandfather was having a heart attack.

“I lunged forward and as I lunged forward the foot went on the accelerator,” Brandon’s grandfather, Jerry Lehman, told Fox 12.

Brandon said they were going 75 in a 25 mile-per-hour zone.

He grabbed the wheel and did everything he could to stop the car.

“I pulled his foot off the gas with my arm while trying to steer, and then I had to put my leg over his leg to reach the brake,” he said. “I was able to slow it down just enough to get up on the sidewalk.”

But Brandon didn’t have a phone.

He ran to the nearest home and asked the woman inside to call 911. He returned to his grandfather, pulled him out of the car and started doing CPR until paramedics arrived.

Lehman was rushed to the hospital and ended up undergoing triple bypass surgery.

“Brandon – he’s definitely my guarding angel,” Lehman said.

Together, they finished that new playground.

“It’s wonderful and we’re so grateful,” said Jessica Lightheart of Share Homestead. “When you have 20-25 kids in shelter at any one time it’s really nice for them to be able to get outside and get some exercise and play happily like any normal kid would.”

Brandon understands that better than most.

He picked the project because he was homeless for the first few years of his life, living in shelters along with his teenage mother, desperately hoping for a playground for himself.

He said it was a very difficult time in his life; he was stabbed in the arm, had a mirror broken over his head and was exposed to violence and drug addiction.

He was placed in foster care at the age of 6 and was adopted into a loving family where he’s been ever since.

“I did it for little Brandon, I’m doing it for little me because I don’t want other little homeless kids to not have a fun place to play,” he said. “It makes me happy to just see them get to be a kid because I didn’t get to be one, and they deserve it.”

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