At Life Saver Pool Fence, we have a special place in our hearts for parents who have lost children to drowning. Our Child Safety Source series often interviews parents and pool safety experts who have channeled a tragic loss into something that benefits the world.
Today, we’re highlighting our talk with Sherry-Dawn Sheffield. Sherry-Dawn is a co-founder of Rory the Warrior. This charitable organization was named in honor of her son, Rory, who tragically lost his life. Rory the Warrior aims to provide first responders with the tools they need to prevent other parents from suffering anything like what Sherry-Dawn experienced.
In this video interview, she sat down with Life Saver Pool Fence’s president Eric Lupton to discuss her experience and her mission:
Learning About Rory the Warrior
As Sherry-Dawn explained in her interview, Rory the Warrior is named for her son. Rory Antley Sheffield was born a firecracker. According to Sherry-Dawn, he was walking by the time he was nine months old. Once he got vertical, he never stopped! Rory was the joy of his family and his daddy nicknamed him his “Little Warrior.” Rory loved firetrucks and would watch videos of them going out on calls. Both of his parents attest that he had so much love and life to give. Unfortunately, tragedy took him too soon.
In his honor, Rory’s parents started this organization. Due in part to Rory’s love of firetrucks, it has a special focus on first responders. Together, they attend events, organize fundraisers, purchase “Hero Bags” (First Aid kits that contain emergency oxygen) and deliver “Blessing Bags” to families that find themselves fighting for their child’s life.
If you would like to learn more about the Rory the Warrior, you can visit the official website: RorytheWarrior.org
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Below is a direct transcript of the Child Safety Resource interview with Sherry-Dawn Sheffield from August 14th, 2018:
Eric Lupton: And, that’s it, we are live on the Internet.
Sherry Dawn Sheffield: All right,
Eric: How’s it going?
Sherry: Good, how are you, Eric?
Eric: I am awesome. Sorry that took so long, that’s my fault.
Sherry: That’s ok, I’m sure with me, I’m sure.
Eric: I take the blame either way, you know. I just realize you have a bunch of butterflies stuff behind you.
Sherry: I do.
Eric: What room you’re in?
Sherry: All right, all right which one. Yes I do, I’ve always loved butterflies.
Eric: Alright, butterflies are cool. You know, I have a bunch of random stuff behind me too, so butterflies are probably cooler than the superhero thing I probably have behind me. So,
Sherry: No, its cool
Eric: Awesome. So, um… is… they see me – finally I don’t think we’ve ever actually… I’ve never met you a person, right?
Sherry: No, no, we haven’t met in person
Eric: Yeah, I should thank God. I thought you’re gonna say we have. Like, nice to meet, you…oh, we met like seven times.
Sherry: Yeah, that happens to me all the time, but you know, I’m just as bad so, I don’t judge anybody that gets…
Eric: In my defense, the guy in the wheelchair is easy to remember and all you walking people look the same. So, you know, it’s harder for people like me… all you folks just walking around all look alike. So, we look like Dracula. Yeah, so you guys are doing an awesome work, and I like how specific you are in your niche, which I think is really important, you know. A lot of folks start a non-profit, and they want to kind of do everything and/or do that a lot of other people are doing and you’re doing something super specific and no one else is doing it. And, I think that’s really cool.
Sherry: Well, thank you, thank you. It took a little bit to get there and we did start very general about the firefighters and stuff like that and branched out after going to the national drowning prevention convention; is kind of where we had our aha moment of what we need to do, so yeah. I was pretty glad we went for that.
Eric: What year did you go?
Sherry: This year? Yeah, we just went. Yeah, this is the first time we went and I wasn’t supposed to go, it was gonna just be my husband, and we happen to be able to pick up a load in Miami and then I tagged along so.
Eric: It’s awesome. So, he’s a trucker?
Eric: He… well, he used to be. We used to have that as a company. But, one of our new customers… not one of our customers for our new business which is construction… is one of our old customers for transportation, and he had a boat that we had to pick up. So,
Sherry: In a non-commercial way.
Eric: I hear you.
Eric: That’s fantastic. So, you got the hero bag idea literally just in April
Sherry: Um, yeah. Well, kind of started in April, I went to the convention with the idea in mind that there had to be something out there for EMS or firefighters that could help drowning victims, you know, something. And, I literally went to the convention going, I don’t know what it is. I have no idea, and so I went there and then they started every… I kept hearing lack of oxygen… lack of oxygen, and that’s what you know causes the traumatic brain injury, which is what the problem is with drowning victims, right? And, that’s a …it’s not a lot of times, it’s not kidneys or anything like that. It’s the lack of oxygen to the brain and the brain swelling. So,
Eric: That’s why I am in a wheelchair, I have lack of oxygen when I was being born and it caused Arminianism. So, the symptoms are really similar to a victim, which is why I think I relate a little bit.
Sherry: Yeah, right. Yeah, absolutely. And, then I also… by following a lot of non-fatal drowning families, and noticing they’re going to get oxygen treatment at the H spot and [doctor hearts] and doing all that, it just… it just clicked; like something just said, you know what, you know, we need to get oxygen to them as soon as I can. And, why aren’t we doing this, you know. And, that’s kind of where I went from there, and once I realized that the FDA did approve oxygen for emergency situations, it seemed like a no-brainer.
Eric: So, has this treatment been done before to try any victims, and it’s a bit successful.
Sherry: Well, I mean, they do it as soon as the ambulance comes, right. I mean, once the ambulance there, they give you oxygen, right? The problem is, you know, oh the best ambulance in town doesn’t get to you until, you know, six minutes. If you’re in… for Rory, it was 25 minutes.
Sherry: Yeah, so all that time, you know, the brain starts kind of dying off at six minutes and we need every second. So why can’t these police officers and their patrol cars, a lot of times, are the ones that show up first, or volunteer firemen in their own vehicles. Obviously, once EMTs get there, they have oxygen, but we need it sooner, right? I mean, they’re kids lying an alarming rate. I mean, it’s very rare that they survive, and when they do, they’re issues are the brain injury sounds.
Eric: So, the idea is, the first responders we gets there before the paramedic
Sherry: Correct. Correct
Eric: Is it impossible that people like… I could have one in my house just on standby. I mean,
Sherry: Yes, yes it’s kind of what we’re going for is marketing to pool owners. We do want them… I’m trying to integrate, you know, okay we’ll sell you this and then… and give you a credit for like CPR and oxygen training, which oxygen training, when I would ask if an EMT, the Chiefs of EMS and different things. They’re like, well you know, training, training, training, that’s the issue. You need training on oxygen, you need to… I’m like okay, well what is it. I mean, grandma carries around oxygen, right?
Eric: Right, like I mean, how hard could this be? And when I talked to the gentleman that does our CPR training, he said it’s five minutes, and he did it the end of one of our CPR things, and it’s five minutes. So, we are marketing that on our website to pool owners, or if you live on the water or, you know, anything like that.
Sherry: Definitely, I mean, there are three hundred dollars, and… but they’re not real big; they’re tall, the whole thinks we can just haul, and so it hangs on your wall next to your pool or whatever, and to me, I just think if you own a pool, you should have this, you know.
Eric: And I’ve never heard, you know, as deep as I am into pool safety, which is about as far as it gets, I’ve never heard anyone recommend that before ever.
Sherry: Right, well …and because, if you talk to medical people, you know whether they’re paramedics or they’re doctors. They’re like, well you know, it’s the training issue. And so, that’s when I started asking different medical professionals. Like, what’s the downside of this, you know, tell me I’m going to blow up someone’s lungs, tell me you know, like something right, like something…
Eric: Or their eyes are going to pop out
Sherry: Yeah, it’s gonna happen other than they’re already, you know, not, you know, breathing or a heartbeat. I mean, you can’t get much worse than that? So… and literally, their issue as well, you know, if you don’t put it on the face properly, they don’t get the right amount. Okay, like if you don’t do mouth-to-mouth properly, they don’t get it right, you know,
Eric: And we all know you should do some kind of CPR s in a new CPR right. I mean, that’s kind of the… So, we’ve got that down like even crappy CPR is better than no CPR.
Eric: Better they get wrong air than no air.
Sherry: Right, and you know, and then when I started asking about CPR cuz, I didn’t take CPR. I redid it in April and came to find out, you do CPR classes now, it’s all about the chest compressions and that’s great for every cardiac situation, right. And, they say oh well, mouth-to-mouth is optional, and they don’t address drowning, because when in a drought situation, it’s not really optional. I mean, you might as well not do CPR if you’re not doing much mouth, because they’re not getting any oxygen. With every other cardiac situation, once you get the heart going and you get all that… everything starts to work except in a drowning situation where the lungs aren’t Trans… like, they’re not switching out those gases, you actually need to push that oxygen in there. And, for them to say, oh well, you know, mouth-to-mouth is optional and not address drowning, was shocking to me. Because, this isn’t some rare occurrence that children drown. I mean, it happens all the time, obviously, and yeah… and they don’t address it.
Eric: And my good friend Bob Pratt, he… I don’t… you know him? He’s on the board of the NDPA, and he’s using EMS a paramedic for a long time. Yeah. It’s really upset about people not doing the breaths right, because it’s.. you’re missing out on everything.
Sherry: Exactly, I mean, with mouth-to-mouth and I learned that… learnt this since talking to different people about it mouth-to-mouth, you get 14 to 16 percent oxygen when they do that, because obviously, you breathe in oxygen and you expel carbon dioxide, right, so you’re not giving them a hundred percent oxygen. But, it’s better than nothing.
Sherry: And then, if you… we looked in just doing the bag-valve-mask… bag-valve-mask s– the BVN and that’s better, you get 21% oxygen. But, if you have something in your bag that can give you a 100% and push it in, what… like, why not? You know, the only issue with oxygen is, they’re worried about over oxygenation, right? But, you have to do that for like days and days and days of oxygen, and that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the tanks, we …there is 25 minutes, right? So,
Eric: It… isn’t it hyperbaric / oxidant. I mean, isn’t that exactly what that is?
Sherry: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And, people just haven’t come around. So, that way of thinking you know, and when I do talk to, you know, whether it’s firefighters that have EMT training or paramedics or doctors, um the big thing is their training says, okay, well I’m not supposed to do that. I’m not a medical, you know, I’m not a doctor, I can’t prescribe it …that’s what their training says. But, for the last 40 years, the FDA says it’s allowed; it’s not prescription drug in an emergency situation when there needs to be resuscitated, so when I tell them about this like, oh well, you know, you do CPR and that gets everything going. And then, when I mentioned ‘except and drowning’, it’s like it switches over to, oh okay, yeah, you’re right. You know, like I’m not… I’m not doctor, I’m not an EMT. I was a lifeguard years ago. Like, that’s about it, and how …this is not like a normal thing. Just… it just blows my mind to be honest.
Eric: Yeah, like I said, I’ve never heard anybody mention it before you. I think you’re really on the cutting edge of something legitimately groundbreaking. I think, you know, hopefully, you’ll be the beginning of everybody having these things. I really think that and
Sherry: I hope so… I hope so. Yeah, because you know, obviously we promote water safety and prevent, and you know, that’s obviously that’s what we want but we’re not to the point yet that that’s actually changing. I mean it’s changing things. But, we’re still… is a hill battle, right. I mean, we’re constantly telling about, you know, fences and door, window alarms and why you shouldn’t do this. And so, you know, when the worst happens, and either the child gets through all your barriers or you aren’t aware of the issues, the least we could have is this oxygen to give them a fighting chance.
Eric: Yeah, absolutely. So, I’m impressed with how quickly you got it up on your website, and you know, it looks like you’ve been doing this forever you know.
Sherry: No, no, yeah, and I you know, I can’t even take full credit. It was almost like that thought was planted in me, because I didn’t come up with that all on my own. It just kind of happened, you know. So yeah, I’m… and I did run my marketing design team, my website people, pretty hard to get it going for our big event. We have a ride I’m in July, and so, I’m like… I really… I just had this urgency like we have to get this out here, we have to let people know what we’re doing because from the time I told her that I need to get this website and what I needed on, we lost 15 people… 15 children in Texas, you know, In that time, and I’m just, I don’t know. It’s urgency now; like, we’ve got to do this, we’ve got to get it out there and at least let make people aware of what they need to do. The only pushback I have about marketing to pool owners are, they oh, it’s $300. Okay, you have a pool…
Eric: If you have a house, and a pool… I’m gonna go on a limb and say there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll swing in the strainer bucks.
Sherry: Exactly, exactly. And, you know, we’re not charging any more than if you were to go to someone else. But, everything that above what it costs us goes into these hero bags that we can give to first responders. So, I’m hoping that we push that message note. Yeah, sure if you want to go buy it from someone else or somewhere else you can find it, and you could do it and that’s great. But, if you buy from us, then it goes back into the community and it goes back into first responders, and things like that for though those bags.
Eric: So, whatever profit you make goes towards buying more of these essentially?
Eric: Okay, what was… is there a difference between the hero bag and what people can get
Sherry: Not necessarily. Well, the hero bag is a complete first aid basic kit. Not basic, it’s pretty extensive, but basic EMT kit, I guess you would say right. And then it has the oxygen tank; the same oxygen tank that we would market to pool owners…
Eric: As part of it?
Sherry: …as a part of it. And, it’s put in the bag. If you were to purchase one of this hero bag which is the first-aid kit with the oxygen, retails about twelve hundred dollars, yeah and so these guys can’t afford this. I mean, if you’re a police officer, you might be able to but, you know, they don’t make a whole lot honestly. Um, once your firemen, obviously, you’re a volunteer. Um, the different… all right …and they can’t they can’t afford that.
Eric: And, currently they’re not being paid for by their departments or anything?
Sherry: No. In fact, I have departments that have contacted me wanting them for their trucks. Um, so they don’t even have it for their trucks. I assumed they were it was on the trucks like that was my bad you know, I’m seeing that but these smaller ones, we have some here in Brevard County that I think there’s eight members and they don’t have anything. They have a truck and they service these rural remote areas and that’s when we really need it, you know. So, yeah, they’re departments…since it is a new concept, which again…that just throws me that this is a new concept… they’re coming around, and they’re very receptive. I have more requests than I can probably send out right now, but they’re very receptive to it and their departments; one, they can’t afford to purchase this a lot of times, they have a hard enough time getting their gear, just their basic bunker gear and things like that. So, a bag like this, that’s kind of like, well you know, we have an ambulance. So, that’s why we’re trying to push it out there. I’ve had some people ask, well you know, can’t… like you said, can’t the department’s buy these things like police departments for the squad cars or the fire departments? And honestly, I …maybe eventually they’ll see the light and do it automatically, but until then, I can’t afford not to give it to them and just be like here. And, we give them training; like if there are a police officer, and they don’t have the oxygen training, but normally they have the first-aid and they have the CPR, they have to… but we’ll do the oxygen training and then have them sign a waiver just saying that this is only for resuscitation. And, really that’s to protect them, it’s not even for us. It’s just so that the state knows, or the government knows that we know that they know that they can’t give it to somebody who’s, you know, lightheaded or something like that so perfect.
Eric: I think it’s really cool, I really do, you know, and it’s so rare to see someone doing something so specific and so unique that hasn’t been done yet, and you know, I think… I really do think you’re onto something massive and it’s exciting, you know.
Sherry: Yes. You know, when I am… I didn’t talk to Dr. Hart’s directly um but, I had contact with people who did and apparently he was like, well you know, he wants a H spot ambulance, and I’m like well, I can’t do that but he, you know, that’s kind of where I ran with it when he said this was a good idea, and I’m like all right let’s do this, you know, let’s just …I’m gonna do it until someone says like, I can’t. And then, when they say I can’t, well then we’ll sit down and discuss why I can’t,
Eric: Make sense to me. Yeah, I’d rather ask forgiveness than permission
Sherry: Right. Well, and you know, they… the EMS Chiefs here in my town and a few towns over that I spoke to, they’re very receptive to it, they’re very excited about it, their only issue is um, again they’re like, well it’s a prescription drug and I have to remind them that not in this situation. And not only that, they’re just worried about people certification and I don’t see any reason why that would change anything. If we’re certifying them through the oxygen, you know, their little five minute course or whatever you want to call it, of how to put the mask on and, you know, things like that, and I think it’s more of changing people’s ideas or understanding about what drowning is and it, you know, that kind of thing. So, that’s another thing where I really am excited about these bags because not only are we giving the people that usually show up first the tools to help, but we’re also making them advocates, you know. Cuz, now are they about drowning, now they know about water safety, and if they follow us at all, then they understand what we’re doing and they can take that with them, you know. We… at first, I thought well, just given the oxygen tank which would have been easier and a lot cheaper. But …sorry, I have a eight month old um… you know, which would have been a lot cheaper and easier, but we want them to keep this bag, we want this to be their jump bag, like to be the bag that they grab for whatever reason, right. So, it’s got all sorts of other things; gauze and… I don’t even know what half the stuff is. I just know what in the bag now, but you know, that way they keep it, you know. I don’t want them to be like, oh well I don’t need this auction tank. I haven’t used it in three years, um and then toss it in the closet and it never be used, right. So, you know, and that’s why I’m also excited about these guys wanting to put it in their squad cars, because that way they have it. Like right now, a lot of departments I talked to, you all they have is a little small plastic first-aid kit that has like band-aids or something. Like, I mean, they showed it to me and it’s ridiculous. Like, it’s ridiculous, you know, cuz even in town, a police officer is probably gonna be the first one to show up, right? I mean, there’s usually more of them around than ambulances. And not only that, my hope is if they didn’t run to the accident right away, which I don’t think they would, but now, I feel like it increases their self-efficacy about I can do something, you know. I will work harder because I know I can get there, and I have something that can help, right. So, anything that could help them, I’m all about that.
Eric: Absolutely, and it’s great. I didn’t really do… I think it’s phenomenal. So, um, first of all, what’s the name of your baby?
Sherry: Oh, my little bear over there… Anson, that’s Anson, yes. Yeah, sorry he’s a growler.
Eric: No, that’s alright, I like it. Sounds like he’s uh… yeah, he’s looking for something, you know, that’s great.
Sherry: Oh yeah, he’s a happy little guy. He’s just in his swing growling
Eric: I growl sometimes too. So, I understand, I get it
Sherry: It’s usually in the morning, that’s usually when I start growling
Eric: Well, if I haven’t eaten you know
Sherry: He more than growl when he’s hungry
Eric: He just has to let you know
Sherry: Oh, absolutely,
Eric: Yeah, you gotta be on alert. So, how long ago did you guys start Rory the Warrior?
Sherry: We started in February of 2017, about six months after Rory passed, um that’s when I officially started. I knew I needed to do something within gosh a couple of months. I knew there was something I had to do. I had a good feeling it had to do with first responders, only because um… well, Rory love fire trucks. He was young, he’s three, he didn’t have a huge vocabulary, but he could tell you every part of a fire truck. He watched YouTube videos on how to build fire trucks. Yeah, I mean, and then he would watch videos, as long as I would let him of fire trucks going on calls just … one, who knew they video that stuff, right and then post on YouTube. And, who knew a three-year-old would find that and just… if I would let him, it would be hours. I would… I would do it while we homeschool. So, he would watch and it’s just, you’d hear it. Like, this pulling out of the station, and pulling out a station and going by, I don’t like this I’m bored within five seconds. But, you know…so it kind of went from there, his love of fire trucks. When he drowned, we were on vacation in Khon Kaen, which is a small town in the hill country. I guess it still Hill Country in Texas, but it was pretty remote, and I didn’t realize that until we had the accident. And, it was a rental home; when we found him of course, we did start CPR and called 9-1-1. Within two minutes, a volunteer fireman showed up, he happened to be right down the road and helped us with CPR and things like that until the ambulance got there, which was about 25 minutes later. And then, it was another 15 to 20 minutes to get to the hospital and things like that. So, um you know, it …so he has a special place in our hearts. We had fireman comes show up for Rory in the hospital while we’re waiting to see if we’re gonna have brain activity and um… so that was good, it was… that was nice. When our people back home found out …we were four hours away… and told our local fire departments, they showed up for his funeral. There was 13 trucks in in Rory’s procession. Yeah, I mean, they …we have like little cards honorary firefighter for him, the Brazoria County firefighters brought him a little funky gear set with his name on it. I mean, they just really showed a lot of support and it kind of started out as my way to say thank you to them, like, do something for them, because what they gave us, we can’t measure, you know; making a horrible situation just a little bit sweeter by showing up, you know. So, it started with that. We started with wanting to get their bunker gear, things like that. But, bunker gear is expensive, and we ran into an issue of like one department wants top-of-the-line for 7000, and another department, well, they just need this anything and they’ll take the $2,000 set, you know. So, how do we justify where we go? And so, it kind of stalled out for a bit until right before the convention, I just knew I had to do something. I didn’t know what that was, I didn’t know. I’m like, you know, is there a new invention out there that can, I don’t know, pump water out of lungs? Like, at that point, I didn’t know the aspects of drowning, you know, I didn’t know that your lungs really aren’t filled with water. But, you know that was kind of my idea. Like, something… something’s got to be out there to help someone survive this. So… and, it just… it moved from there. So, we’re coming up on two years for Rory’s passing, and I’m just really excited about what we’re doing, you know. Yeah, sorry I ramble.
Eric: You’re great. Um, for anyone who hasn’t read the story, do you mind talking about how he made it to the pool and kind of…?
Sherry: Well no problem. Yeah, we… and three other… not me, our family and three other families, were good friends and we rented a vacation home with a pool out in Khon Kaen. And, the big thing to do in that area is float the river, float the free-o
Eric: Right and, Khon Kaen is not Cancun, which I read a couple times.
Sherry: No, no, it’s not… it’s in Texas, not that long; it’s still very nice, but that’s a big thing to float the river. So, we look floated the river one day, it was on Thursday and it took about five hours. The next day, we decided we’re just gonna play at the river. So, we took the kids out there and we were playing out there, and after everything, we decided it was time to come home or um back to the house, which was a mile away. We, my friend, loaded up the children. She had all the kids, and we loaded up the tubes and the things; the ice chests, whatever, and we allowed Rory to go with her, um because, he wanted to go with the kids and it was a mile up the road. So, she took off before we did. When we got to the house, um I assumed that he was upstairs with the rest of the kids or the rest of the adults. I went and changed and when I walked upstairs, and my first question was, where’s Rory? Which was a very normal thing for me to say, cuz he was a little firecracker. He was always on the go… and nobody knew, and I don’t even think I stopped. I just went straight to the balcony where the pool was and found him. So, you know, the issues; there was a gate, there was a fence around the pool, there was gates, but one of the gates… the lock wasn’t working. And, Rory knew how to open it. We don’t know if someone left the gate open, we don’t know if he opened it, we don’t know any of that. When he got in the car with my friend, he has a little life jacket on, because we were out at the river. And, even though it was just, you know, a couple of inches deep, it wasn’t like maybe to his knees. Um, it’s a flowing river, so we decided he had to have his life jacket on. And, we got back and so the last time I saw him, he had his life jacket on. But unfortunately, my friend had taken the life jacket off to let it dry. I mean, we were going home to eat dinner, there was you know… that was would be anything any mom would do, you know. And, she went up to dry, and yeah, he, I guess he decided he was gonna go swimming after that. I mean, she thought he was with the kids, the other kids. I thought he was with her and it was just one of those situations where, you know, he just slipped off and yeah. So, that’s how he got in the pool. Um, I do realize some mistakes. Obviously, you know, the fence that they weren’t self-closing gates, they didn’t have high locks and I had been letting Rory swim in that pool with the big kids with his life jacket on, so I can only assume he didn’t think anything of it and he’d been jumping in that pool for the last two days, and he just jumped in, you know. So yeah.
Sherry: Oh definitely, she’s my best friend. Yes, yeah, no. um, I mean, I know we all carry guilt, you know. Why didn’t I ask where he was sooner? Why you know, all sorts of things and, she does too, and I find that unfortunate. Just because… she didn’t do anything that anybody else wouldn’t have done, you know, we’re going upstairs to eat, you’re taking off the wet lifejacket. I mean, that’s what you do, right? I mean, um, you know, I guess she just wasn’t… she wasn’t used to handling a three-year-old as mischievous as Rory. So, you know, it happened, it was an accident, it was very unfortunate for us, but you know. But no, definitely she is my best friend, and she would have done anything, you know, to keep him safe. She just didn’t know.
Eric: Yeah, and the work that you’re doing now, I mean like I said, is really fantastic. It’s a tribute to him, I think.
Sherry: Yes yeah, well you know, and one thing I’ve noticed with a lot of the parents specifically through families united and stuff, is that’s really what we want to do. We want to keep our children’s memory alive and we want their death not to be in vain, you know. We want to keep other parents from dealing with this crappy situation for the rest of their lives. And, if it’s preventable, we need to do that, right. So, yeah, and selfishly yeah, it keeps his name being said, you know, and I get to do things for him still, you know so, that’s on the selfish side of, I’m still doing things for my child working.
Eric: The thing with that is that it is working
Sherry: I hope so, I hope so. I’m really excited about the response I’ve gotten from the men and women the first responders about these. They’re really excited about getting them, and that excites me right. Because, that’s our biggest boundary is sharing our passion about water safety and about all these different things. And, sometimes it feels like it falls on deaf ears, and so when people are really reacting to it, it’s a …it’s uplifting, you know. Maybe this is the way we get it out there, maybe this is the way we promote water safety and prevention. So, like I hope they never… I hope they never have to use that oxygen tank, like, I hope that it gets old and they have to get it replaced and, you know, things like that. It… I think that would be amazing, but if they need it, I want them to have it, you know. I want them to be able to do something.
Eric: For sure. So, does Rory, the warrior, have anything you want to talk about?
Sherry: Actually, we just had our big ride. So, um I’m kind of on a downslope right now, we need to recoup, but we are looking at different things. We don’t have anything set one way, we are trying to offend a lot of these departments because it’s now branched out where members are a county, which is southern Texas, and we have …we want to go to be Aldi where Rory had drowned and get their departments funded and filled. And so, what we’re going to be doing is, if the departments want these bags for their guys or for their department, we’re all there and do events there to fund that department, specifically, you know. And then, that way it gets their community involved. It’s not some, you know, mystical people who they don’t know, right. You know, we’re gonna give money to this, but we don’t know who it’s going to. So, that way again, we get to promote prevention and water safety, and why we’re doing this along with raising money and getting it into their hands. So yeah, so yeah, right no, I don’t have any events like right now, but we have a lot in the works. We… uh, in April, we’re partnering up with Katie and they’re in Harris County, they’re in Houston area, Katie safety fest, and we’re gonna do a safety vest Brazoria County down here. Yeah, and so we’re just trying to spread that. I mean, again, it’s safety for everything. I mean, it encompasses everything, but you know, we get to go in our water safety which is the whole point for me doing it. So yeah, but yeah, I appreciate you asking that but no, I don’t have anything.
Eric: Where… if somebody wants to support you and learn more about the bags or Rory the warrior, how do they find you?
Sherry: Uh, well we’re on Facebook under ‘Rory the Warrior,’ we also have a website, it’s Rorythewarrior.org, it’s a lot of ‘Rs’ a little bit of a tongue twister, but yeah, it’s Rorythewarrior.org; you, can see the tanks, you can purchase the tanks, you can see we have a page where we post a first responders picture and a little bio, and people can donate directly to their bag. That has been wildly popular to where they’re like in competition now, right. So, they’re like, oh I’m gonna beat so-and-so, I’m gonna get my bag first. And, you know. So, we’re really excited about it. What… I just made a big order for 50 bags and it’s looking like I’m gonna be needing to make another order. Because, you know, um yeah, we’re wanting to present these to the guys and we’re just really excited about it.
Eric: That’s really cool, I’m going to order from you for sure.
Sherry: Awesome yeah, I mean, I don’t know why people aren’t doing it. Uh, I’ve already said that but yeah.
Eric: I mean, it makes sense, I have a pool and my brother across the street has a pool. So, I’m getting us both one, you know.
Sherry: Yeah, good yeah, you know. We have pool fences, right, and I’ve already told several of the pool companies around here I’m coming for you, you know. Because, why wouldn’t you market this with your pool, you know, and it’s… you know… it’s going to a better cause; it’s going to, you know, first responders instead of… whatever. I mean, I don’t know we’re new thi.
Eric: Well, you’re doing a phenomenal job, you really, really are it’s uh… it’s impressive. And, you know, I think that you’re gonna do really good work. I’m excited for you.
Sherry: Thank you. Yeah, I have high hopes you know, um. But, we just wait for God to lead us and listen and that’s what we do. So, I can’t take the credit for it, I’m just do what I’m told.
Eric: That works. So, is there anything you want people to know before we wrap it up?
Sherry: Oh gosh, that’s a…I don’t know now you just stump me with that’s question, right? I want people to know that about water safety, um the biggest barrier is parents for the younger ones, right. They think that they know that what they’re doing and everything they do is not a lack of love. And so, when we approach them telling them things what they do wrong, you know that it comes back on us, you know. Just, you know, pay attention to water safety, pay attention to the water around you. It’s summertime and what do we do? We go to pools and we go to the beach and we go to lakes and we go to rivers and every function is around water. I know you posted something about, you know, we have… you can’t leave the hospital without having a car seat and they even check the car seat, and you can’t do all these things… you worry about helmets and riding bicycles, and you just… you can name it; plugs for your outlets when you have a baby, right. I mean, that’s a huge thing. I can’t remember last time I’ve seen where baby was electrocuted, but right… we had those plugs and, you know, so why aren’t we, you know, when tragedy happens, you know, with school shootings which are horrible, you know. Everybody runs out and we need to spend all this money and when you do all this, and that’s good, you know, it’s good but we’re still avoiding the big issue for our kids, you know. At our event, um on the 15th, I did a… I don’t what you call it …exhibition. I don’t know, I think… we put out bathing suits, we hang them up for all every child that has drown in Texas since 2016. When Rory drown, um and we had him in the right gender, and we have in the right, age. It was 240 well, and yeah and for people to look at that to see because they were just blown away. They’re like, what is this that you know, in the whole us know, it’s just Texas, you know. And, it’s not even for the last ten years, it’s only like the last two years. So, you know, in 56… 58 in Texas already. It means people need to be more aware of their surroundings and of the dangers of pools. We wouldn’t want to look… people don’t want loaded guns around, but you know, hey we got a pool in our backyard and that’s our fun, which is fine. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love swimming as much as the next person, but I also see that now is something that has to be handled with care, like with guns or anything else, you know.
Eric: Our original pool safety guide that still exists used to say that, you know, you wouldn’t leave a gun on your countertop but, you know, at least with a gun, if a child gets it and pulls the trigger and you know, the bullet shoots out of it, you know where the goes isn’t certain, you know, but if a child falls in the pool, what happens after that is the same every time.
Sherry: Yeah, seconds they’re even every missing for a minute or not even… they take that one breath and it’s is done, right, and I don’t know, I don’t know, it’s just sad.
Eric: And you’re right about the media stuff, you know. I got annoyed. It was a few years ago when there was that peanut butter Salmonella thing, where the kids were getting sick from the peanut butter, right. And, it was everywhere; it was on Good Morning America and the Today Show, in the national news and, oh yeah, it was plastered all over everything, right. And, it was a thing, right. But, I mean, you’re talking literally about a handful of kids who got a tummy ache, right. I mean, that’s the extent of it right. And, it was everywhere and every day they were talking about this peanut butter scare. Kids were dying in pools, you know, the kids were literally dying, who weren’t getting mentioned, there was no story about, you know, and his death toll was racking up while we’re talking about you know, upset tummies and peanut butter right, and it… so at the time, I remember thinking like, this is ridiculous, right. Well, I went to our local pool just trying to figure out what their safety procedures were and also knowing you know, people worried over the safety of oxygen tanks and whether people are gonna use them properly or, you know, things like that. And, I go to the pool and around our pool is literally seven fire extinguishers. Seven, yeah um I was unaware that fire was the main issue in the pool area but okay, there’s seven we got a handle right. And, what I tell people when they talk about that, you know, well if someone uses it wrong, well they could get in trouble. Well, okay, if there’s a fire and there’s a fire extinguisher there, if I break that glass and I get it and I put out the fire. I’m okay right? Like, if I use it in and it works or doesn’t work it’s okay right for if I’m hanging out at the pool and I break the glass and get the fire extinguisher and start spraying everything when there is no fire, obviously, I’m gonna be in trouble. Same idea, I mean, it’s the same idea you use it when you need it. And, if you don’t use it when you’re supposed to, well then, you’re gonna get in trouble for that. So, why would just paint people when you’re supposed to.
Sherry: Yeah, and the idea of having it, you know, on hand like a fire extinguishers, the perfect analogy. No, this is the fire extinguisher for your pool.
Eric: Exactly, well yeah. And, we have fire extinguishers in our house and building codes make you have fire extinguishers. So, why not if you… I’m not one for new laws don’t get me wrong. I don’t want new regulations and new laws, but don’t get me wrong if that’s what we have to do then I’m not against it. I just feel like people need self-regulation. I don’t need the state of Texas to say, okay well, if you have a pool, you have to have an oxygen tank. ** Hey, I don’t need that, I need people to be aware of why they need an oxygen tank, need them to be aware of the dangers of their pool and self-regulate, you know. If the government makes you do it, you’re not going to really invest in it, right. You’re gonna be like, I have to do this so I have oxygen tank that’s in the closet. I’m not sure where it is, you know, like that kind of thing.
Sherry: It makes me so sad when people get a pool fence from us to meet code, right. Because, they have to and I know because they tell me that as soon as they pass inspection, they’re taking it down.
Eric: And, I’m like, can you just not… we just leave it up, that’d be really cool. Um, you know, I so …you know, I didn’t want to make it for it, you know. I feel you know, we do this great job installing and it looks gorgeous and it’s perfect and safe, and I know that in a week it’s gonna be gone, you know, and that’s you know, because the law requires it you know,
Eric: Right. Well, and what kills me about that is a lot of times, these people well-meaning, you know, well I don’t have children where children are grown or, I have a yard, a fenced-in yard, all this other stuff. Well, that’s great except if you have grandkids, right. Grand kids, if you have friends that come over that have kids, do you want to be right or do you want to be safe? You know, yes we parents need to supervise their children, absolutely yes. The children need swimming lessons, great, but children don’t always do what we tell them to do. I mean, they could avoid that pool a hundred times and then get this wild hair, right. And, I’d rather be safe and save a child that made a wrong choice at the age of three when I don’t even think you can make real choices. I’d rather be safe than right, you know. Oh well, they should kept their child away from my pool, or the child string that got in there; great you’re right. Yeah,
Eric: Yeah, congratulations.
Sherry: Yeah, right um but it’s how still gone or hurt or, you know, something like that so why can’t we just be safe and who cares about being right?
Eric: Yeah, my dad just say there’s a lot of people who are dead right. You know, very dead, very right.
Sherry: Exactly, you know. Do you want the child to be alive so you make better decisions, or you know, still be self-righteous and you like, well I did what I’m supposed to you they’re not my child or whatever, you know. I’m not saying all people do that, it’s just that’s kind of their thinking, you know. My family’s fine, my children know how to swim, my… and they don’t realize how many times its neighbor’s pools, grandkids just the list of things, you know.
Eric: It was a neighbor’s pool recently with Bode Miller, you know. So, it happens.
Sherry: Well yeah, I personally know a couple that were in our grief counseling. That little guy got out twice and got into a neighbor’s pool, you know, above-ground pools. People seem to think they’re not as dangerous, it’s just a realm of things, and a lot of times what I’m sure you get it is, oh well, we can’t bubble wrap everything, we can’t… it’s… nothing’s foolproof. Well, I get that, I get that, and if it was a random rare occasion that a child drowned, I probably wouldn’t be on this mission for everybody know it. But, it’s not, you know, so although you know, people that think that they always watch their children, people that think that they’ve done everything right, they’re losing out. Yeah, and it’s their children so…
Eric: And people are probably sick to hear me say it, but the parents who say they always watch their kids are the ones that scare the crap out of me, you know. Not the mom who’s like, I can keep up with them, I need a pool fence alarm device. I can get you know, those are real moms the ones that are like, no I watched my kid 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I don’t sleep, I don’t use the bathroom, I don’t shower, the baby comes with me everywhere I go… those moms terrify me. Because, that’s unreal, there’s no parent who watches a kid…
Sherry: Right, as the post about the child getting into well, Rory got** or into the pantry or peanut butter or, you know, elicit things. And, they’re like, oh look haha, how funny this is. Well, yeah it is funny um but that pantry or that peanut butter or that sharpie marker that you weren’t watching them for those two minutes, could have been a pool.
Eric: Yep, yeah, you’re lucky yeah. You must have heard me you that rant cuz, I’ve done it a dozen times.
Sherry: Yeah, I mean, it’s… you don’t …you don’t watch your kids all the time, no you know, so many times people there’s been a few children that sneak out the windows when everybody’s sleeping, or they’re supposed to be taking a nap and moms in in the kitchen making lunch; like there’s no fault in that. Um, you don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s why, you know, when I tell people about window alarms, they kind of roll their eyes or like, oh yeah, whatever. Well okay, I can show you pictures of children who climbed out windows, because the door is locked. Yep, so no, we don’t watch our kids all the time and yeah, I’ve seen those comments. I try to avoid comments on certain posts cuz oh, I’m just like wow, perfect parents. I’m not one, you know,
Eric: Yeah they’re not perfect, just lucky, you know.
Sherry: Right yeah, and I hope they stay lucky that would be awesome, I would love to live in that world, you know, where bad things don’t happen. When we went to that house, the rental house, and I saw that pool we first arrived, I actually looked at that pool and I said, that pools gonna be a nightmare. Because, Rory was mischievous, he was always on the go. So, I knew that that was gonna be something that I was gonna have an issue keeping him away from. I went so far as to, every night like I’m locking all the doors, and I tell the children and I tell their parents, like if you get up and you know want to go outside, like just make sure Rory’s in the bed, you know, lock the door after you. I was just so fearful that he would get up before me and sneak out to the pool, you know, um hindsight right. I was worried about it, but I didn’t actually think it was gonna happen and I felt like I was like the somewhat overprotective kinda. I’ve been accused of that before you know, and that’s why I think that’s, sorrr…
Eric: It’s great, I love it.
Sherry: You know, that’s why I can tell people I was that parent, I don’t think I was so like, oh, I will always watch my child. No, I …he were as number four of our children and he was the wildest one. I can tell you, I did not have a handle on that child, you know. We have pictures of our own where he got into a sharpie while we’re all at the table. He happened to get up and within five minutes, my other children are like, we don’t even know where he got the Sharpie from, because I had literally banned sharpies from my house, right. And yeah, I mean, he had gotten himself hit the dresser. I just redone for him his bed the wall, the hall wall, my dresser, dad’s dresser like I mean,
Eric: The cat, the dog.
Sherry: So yeah, I mean, I knew I wasn’t …he was just a go-go-go kind of kid and you know, I just don’t want other parents to deal with this, right. Like, when I try to tell people I’m not judging you, I’m not like, you know, you’re a bad parent you need to do this, this and this. I’m telling you because I made these mistakes, I’m telling you because I’ve seen these mistakes made even if I didn’t make them myself, and it’s not worth it, you know, it’s not worth it.
Eric: Well, thank you very much for doing this,
Sherry: I hope I did ok, I’m not much of a webcam person so I’m probably…
Eric: You did a great job and you really did and I really appreciate it. And, I think that the oxygen and the hero bag is an amazing idea. I can’t believe no one has done it before you, but I hope that gets rectified very soon. So, I’m gonna do what I can to make sure people know.
Sherry: Thank you for what you do.
Eric: Thank you
Sherry: That’s awesome.
Eric: Well, you guys have a good day and I will see you soon.
Sherry: Yes sir, yes sir.