5-year-old's long run for help probably saved his daddy's life

December 21, 1997

5-year-old's long run for help probably saved his daddy's life


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

FANNETTSBURG, Pa. - Family and friends in the tiny rural community of Fannettsburg believe they have a hero in their midst.

But the hero they're referring to - shy, 5-year-old Logan Kendle - said he was just trying to get help for his daddy when he ran a mile-and-a-half without a coat on from his family's mountain log home to a store in town on Dec. 12.

The young Kendle's effort probably saved his father's life.

"We're lucky things weren't a whole lot worse than what they were," said Archie Kendle, 49, who doesn't remember anything that took place from that Friday afternoon until almost 48 hours later when he woke up in the intensive care unit at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.


Believed to be totally recovered from brain surgery two months ago to remove a tumor that was pressing on his ocular nerve and pituitary gland, Archie had been back to work for the National Park Service for a week and went out early Friday morning to hunt deer nearby.

He returned to his home at about 7:30 a.m. because he said he had a headache and began vomiting.

"I just thought it was a bad headache," Archie said.

When Logan came home from kindergarten at 11:30 a.m. that day, he found furniture knocked over and things broken inside of his family's home and his father was stumbling around incoherently, said Cindy Kendle, wife and mother.

After Archie collapsed on the floor, Logan got scared and called his grandmother, who lives nearby, but there was no answer.

Instinctively, Logan ran to get his mother, who he knew was cleaning at Lower Path Valley Presbyterian Church in the center of town.

"I always tell my kids where I am," said Cindy Kendle.

But before Logan could make it to the church, a neighbor who was on her way to pick up her children at school passed him on the road leading to town.

She drove straight to the school, knowing she would see Cindy picking up their other son, Cody, 6, and told her she thought she had just seen Logan walking by himself on the road.

When nobody answered her telephone call from the school, Cindy said she knew something was wrong.

She found her husband lying on the floor, convulsing, when she got home and called 911.

She called her mother to look for Logan, who was found at McMullens Store, across the street from the church, asking for help.

By the time Archie reached Chambersburg Hospital, his temperature had spiked to a dangerous 108 degrees and doctors packed him in ice and started giving him antibiotics intravenously.

He was soon flown by helicopter to Hershey, where doctors performed a spinal tap and diagnosed Archie with spinal meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Doctors told the family that Archie's brain and the areas around it were infected and enormously swollen.

Hooked up to life support, Archie was not expected to survive the night.

The entire family was called to the hospital and stayed the night, praying for a miracle, said Rick Kendle, Archie's brother.

On Sunday afternoon, Archie woke up, and aside from a slight headache, doctors could find no signs of brain damage or any other permanent damage.

Doctors believe an infection at the site of the removed brain tumor may have been the cause.

He was released from the hospital on Wednesday night.

"It kind of put the hurting on my Christmas shopping," Archie said, sitting upright on the sofa, his right arm hooked up to an intravenous line that continues to drip antibiotics into his bloodstream.

"We're just thankful he's home," Cindy replied.

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