“I want the police officers like Bryan to know they are valued. They do a lot of good and if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be here today.”
Two Cache valley men, Bryan Lay and Benjamin Goodson, went on fishing trip on October 5 to the high elevation Uinta lakes to try and catch some Arctic Grayling. The sport fish is not native to Utah, but was introduced into several high elevation lakes in the Uinta Mountains in 1899.
What started out as a great day of fishing turned into an experience the two won’t soon forget.
It was a crisp cool mountain morning and the two got to the Trial Lake Campground just off the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway at an elevation of 9,500 feet. They were almost 30 miles from the town of Kamas and from the nearest cell service.
“The fishing was better than we expected,” Goodson said on a Facebook post. “We caught so many fish we quit counting after we had each caught 30.”
Lay works for Logan City as an Animal Control Officer, and Goodson was changing jobs moving back to his home state of Wyoming from Smithfield.
They decided to hike half a mile into nearby Washington Lake to see if they would have the same kind of luck.
As the two moved from one lake to the next they decided to eat some snacks before continuing to the next fishing spot.
“Bryan pulled a bag of raw almonds and offered me some,” Goodson said. “A few years ago, I had eaten some raw almonds and wondered if I had a small reaction to them.”
Since he had candy and ice cream with almonds in them before and had no reaction, still wanting to be cautious, he ate two or three of them to begin with and he seemed to have no reaction.
“I packed a small sandwich, some crackers and a couple of handfuls of almonds to take on the trail with us,” he said. “I finished eating some crackers and was still hungry, so I ate a small bag of almonds I brought with me.”
That’s when things started to go bad.
Just about the time he finished the almonds his chest began to hurt, but he thought any reaction would be minor and he thought he could work through it.
“I started to fish and the pain in my chest started to move up to my throat and I had a hard time swallowing,” Goodson said. “As my throat continued to swell, I started to itch.”
The reaction got worse and his throat began to swell and close off so he decided to go back to the truck to get some water to see if that would keep his throat from swelling.
“Bryan just packed up his stuff and followed me,” he said. “As the swelling continued my desire for water increased.”
They made it back to the truck and Goodson grabbed the water bottle and started drinking.
“Even though Brian was calm and reassuring, he knew the seriousness of the situation much more than I did,” he said. “Bryan calmly but quickly got into the truck and suggested we drive towards town.”
They were 30 miles away from cell phone service and they weren’t sure how far it was to the nearest hospital.
“As he turned the truck towards town, he knew it was important to keep me calm and responsive,” Goodson said. “Bryan instinctively started a conversation so calm you would have never known he was driving down mountain roads with higher than normal traffic and livestock on the road.”
The allergic reaction continued to worsen and about three miles before cell phone service Goodson became nonresponsive. As soon as Lay had enough bars on his phone, he called 911 and had the ambulance meet him at a predetermined location.
As they met the ambulance Goodson was still unresponsive.
“The paramedics tried to lift me on to the gurney, but I weigh 250 pounds and started to fall,” he said. “Bryan stepped in and helped the paramedics lift my lifeless body on the gurney.”
The paramedics used two EpiPens and some other drugs to bring him back to life. He spent about five hours in the emergency room, but in the end he recovered. He lauded Lay’s quick thinking and police training as the reason he was still alive.
“I want the police officers like Bryan to know they are valued,” Goodson said in a telephone interview. “They do a lot of good and if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be here today.”
Police officers are trained to help people and should be recognized for the good they do, he added.
Lay said two things helped him get through the ordeal with Goodson. His police training and he had a similar situation with his son who had an allergic reaction.
“I knew we had to get him to the hospital as quick as I could,” Lay said. “I knew it could get quite bad in a hurry.”
He said he was calm on the outside and was able to accomplish the task, but he was on high alert on the inside.
“I kept telling him he would be fine to keep him calm, but I knew we had problem,” Lay said. “I was able to function, and I knew what needed to be done and I could not let him know I was worried on the inside.”
“I would just really want people to know how life threating a allergic reaction can be,” he added. “It is important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.”
Goodson, a father of four, is back at work and has made a full recovery. And Lay is back on his beat today as a Logan City Animal Control Officer.