LITTLE FALLS — An Elk River couple counts their blessings every day as they watched their son grow up and now raise two children of his own.
This is a blessing they may have lost almost 25 years ago, but thanks to a person they call “an angel” — also known as Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard — their son is alive and well.
Members from the two families reunited Saturday, May 9, in the Walmart parking lot in Little Falls, to talk about that tragic day in 1996 where the Elk River couple — Mike and JoAnne Hubred — almost lost their son, Jordan.
Mike Hubred was the only family member who was able to make the trip, which was important to him as he had made a painting for Goddard to show his appreciation for what Goddard did to help his son.
It was an August day in 1996. The Hubreds took their children — Jordan, who was 8-years-old at the time, and Christine, who was almost 4 — camping along the North Shore at Cascade River State Park in Lutsen. Mike Hubred said the weather was rainy and they decided they would go home, but first they’d look at the waterfalls.
“My son was 8-years-old and rambunctious, of course, and he started climbing on the rocks and the next thing I knew he was running on the highway because I told him we were going to look at the waterfalls,” Hubred said, recounting the day. “Well he started running down the highway and I yelled at him to stop and he kept going. He looked one way, but not the other and he was hit by a pickup pulling a cabin cruiser, a big boat.”
It was a parent’s worst nightmare, but luck was on the Hubred family’s side.
Hubred said when his son was struck by the pickup, the first miracle was there was a brush guard on the front of the pickup.
“(The brush guard) actually bent back when it hit his jaw,” Hubred said. “He flew forward about 20 feet through the air and he actually landed on a bush, which deadened the impact, but it did break his femur bone.”
Then Goddard showed up on scene. Goddard was on his honeymoon with his wife Carla and was in the right place at the right time. The newlyweds were spending their honeymoon along the North Shore and were driving along when they noticed cars stopping on the highway, and they noticed a baseball cap.
For the trip, Goddard borrowed his parents car as it was more reliable and his mother told him to make sure he took his first responder gear as “you never know what you will run into,” Goddard said. He was in the beginning of his law enforcement career and was a Breezy Point police officer at the time.
He pulled the car over, grabbed his gear and ran to the boy. Goddard recalls screaming Jordan’s name over and over again to make sure the boy stayed awake. Most of the details are a blur as it was a tragic scene, Goddard said. He stayed with the boy to help him until the ambulance arrived.
“Jordan was in rough shape,” Hubred said. “And Scott shows up with oxygen and he prevented brain damage. Then the ambulance showed up and gave him more oxygen.”
The Goddards were staying at Bluefin Bay in Lutsen, so they went back to their room after the crash to process everything that just happened.
“I remember ... walking out to the lake and I saw the helicopter fly by and that is when it kind of hit me and my hands started shaking,” Goddard said. “Jordan was 8 years old at the time. A very young boy.”
Hubred said his boy was flown to the Duluth hospital to be treated for his injuries, and he and his family drove the two-hour trip.
“As we were going, I was thinking about all the miracles that had happened,” Hubred said. “It’s hard to even imagine, but my affirmation ... is God does exist. That was renewed that day. Because without those miracles my son probably would have died. I thought I would be on my way to a funeral.
“Scott was an angel.”
Hubred said Jordan broke his femur bone, but it healed and he started playing soccer six months later.
Things were very different in the ‘90s when it came to first responders, Goddard said. He noted the equipment responders have today is much more efficient than it was decades ago. Goddard said when he was helping the boy keep his airway open, the piece of equipment looked more like a modified turkey baster.
Goddard said he will never forget helping this boy.
As a law enforcement officer, Goddard said this was his first really bad incident with a child. “Kids are the ones that hit us so bad,” he said.
The two families stayed in touch — but as the years went by things got busy as the Hubred children grew up and the Goddards had two of their own children — Jordan and Paxton.
After the tragic incident and before the Goddards had children, Carla Goddard told her husband, “you know what the name of our firstborn child will be.”
“And me, being the dummy, I said, ‘what?’” Goddard said and laughed. “She said we are going to name him or her Jordan as it's perfect for a girl or a boy. It will be a good fit.”
Their daughter Jordan is now 19 and joined the Air Force. The Hubreds’ son Jordan is 32 and is a real estate agent in St. Paul.
Through the busyness, Hubred reached out to the Goddards asking them what type of scene they’d like him to paint. Hubred has been a painter since he was 5. The Goddards gave him a photo of the famous Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors.
In 2018, Hubred painted the lighthouse. It took him about 20 hours. The families finally were able to meet and Hubred gave them the painting, plus two others he painted.