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Kentucky teen dies after volunteering with flood clean-up: 'He had an amazing heart'

USA TODAY
USA TODAY
 2022-08-10

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When the devastating floods hit Perry County and 12 other Eastern Kentucky counties on July 26, Aaron "Mick" Crawford was ready to help.

Crawford, who had just turned 18, assisted flood victims for three days before he suddenly began to feel ill, said his mother, Ronda Crawford, in a Facebook post.

He was taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, where he was placed on a ventilator for four days before he died Friday.

Crawford's cousin, Nix Ritchie, said he didn't have any prior health conditions.

"It came out of nowhere," Ritchie told The Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network. "We were still reeling from the flood and the next thing I know, I hear he’s in the ICU two hours away."

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Aaron "Mick" Crawford is seen with his parents, Ronda and David Crawford, in his football jersey. Mick was the youngest of eight siblings. Provided by Rachel Crawford

The family still does not know what caused Crawford's death — and they may never know. Crawford's sister, Rachel Crawford, said they chose to donate his organs, which meant an autopsy couldn't be performed.

While it was a difficult decision, Rachel Crawford said the family knew knowing what happened wouldn't bring him back. But maybe his organs, she said, could make sure someone else stayed alive.

"Mick had an amazing heart and would give anyone anything they asked from him. It’s what he would want," Ronda Crawford wrote on Facebook.

'His main goal in life was to leave the world better than he found it'

Many of Crawford's friends said the only thing he loved more than playing football and wrestling was his faith.

"He used to embarrass me because he would stop and pray for people who he didn't know anywhere," Rachel Crawford said. "He was the Christian I will always aspire to be. He was the person I will always aspire to be."

His friends described him as having a gentle spirit, big heart and sense of humor.

“His main goal in life was to leave the world better than he found it," Ritchie said. "He didn’t care who you were or what you did — he still had faith in you and wanted you to be happy.”

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Aaron "Mick" Crawford with his sister, Rachel. Aaron Crawford, 18, died suddenly after volunteering to help flooding victims in Eastern Kentucky. Provided by Rachel Crawford

Crawford also loved hunting and had dreams of being a conservation officer. With his quick wit and desire to make people laugh, though, his sister joked he would often say that he "didn't know if he could put those tiny handcuffs on squirrels."

Angela Hall Thornsberry, one of Crawford's teachers at Knott County Central High School, said on Facebook, "He was so intelligent and interesting to talk to. He will be greatly missed and I'm glad to have known him."

Ritchie said they have fond memories of growing up with Crawford, who often went out of his way to help people even as a child.

“I know he ... used his faith to help better himself and others. He genuinely loved life and everyone around him,” they said. “As long as I knew him he never judged another soul.”

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky teen dies after volunteering with flood clean-up: 'He had an amazing heart'

Comments / 316

Eric Michael
08-11

you're not going to do an autopsy and you're going to donate his possibly tainted or diseased organs after he died mysteriously... am I the only one that sees something wrong with this?

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Mamabird
08-10

Poor young man. May he RIP. 😇😪 My question is, don't they have to do at least a quick autopsy even if organs are donated? Floodwaters can harbor dangerous organisms, and I would think that there is a chance of infection being transmitted to an organ recipient.

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Sheila Cutshaw
08-10

God called him home, I bet you he was just to Good of a soul for this earth 🌍 I truly believe God is choosing to spare some from what is still to come

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