SPRING HOPE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Eli Shipman felt goosebumps rise on his body as he recalled witnessing a man finally regaining his breath after Shipman helped lift a lawn mower that had turned over and trapped the man underneath near Zebulon.
"It was just a very rewarding feeling to be able to be a part of that and help him and have God have me there at the right time," Shipman said.
Thanks to the help of Shipman, other bystanders, neighbors and rescue workers, the man was freed from underneath the lawn mower and taken to the hospital for treatment.
Shipman had been running errands that day and was about three miles from his Tant Road home when smoke suddenly obscured his sight. He initially assumed someone might have been burning leaves, though when he got closer, an orange hard hat peaking out from underneath a toppled, on-fire lawn mower caught his eye.
Immediately stopping his truck and calling 911, Shipman rushed to the ditch where the man lay trapped and lifted the mower onto his knees, eventually twisting his body to lift up the mower allowing the man to breathe.
"He finally started talking a little bit and I was telling him everything's gonna be all right," Shipman said.
Shipman lifted the mower, despite medical restrictions requiring that he lift no more than 10 pounds because of recent back surgery. Shipman remarked that the mower certainly weighed more than his recommended limit.
"God gave me the strength because I don't think I could pick a lawn mower like it up by myself," Shipman said.
A few community members joined Shipman's efforts after seeing the lawn mower and hearing Shipman's cries for help.
When emergency services arrived, they were able to get the mower all the way up and pull the man out from underneath. He was then placed on a gurney where he remained able to sit upright, Shipman said.
"One of the most fabulous feelings is seeing that old man sit up in that gurney and them putting him in that ambulance," Shipman said.
Though the rescued man could not be reached for comment, Shipman said he wanted to hear from the man to learn about his condition and well-being.
"You got to give glory to God, always first and foremost, because it's him that gives us the power and the accountability to be there at the right place and the right time, because God was watching out over him, too," Shipman said. "He used me as that vessel to help him. So, thank you, Jesus."