SOUTH WESTON - Ethan Hull is a tough kid. As tough as you will find in youth athletics.
Hull has been battling through the month of August in the Cincinnati Children's Hospital from third degree burns he suffered in a farming accident on August 1, and his story of courage and perseverance is truly remarkable.
On Tuesday night, Lewis County High School honored Hull, a high school freshman who has been a standout in both soccer and wrestling. A benefit dinner was held on his behalf at the school's cafeteria, and he was honored at the team's soccer doubleheader with East Fairmont.
"We wanted to honor his fight and let the family know that they have support of this team, this school, and the community," Lewis County soccer coach Jeff Wine said. "We want to celebrate his survival of this accident, and give a show of encouragement that there are still so many people behind him during his recovery."
Wine's reference to Hull's survival of the accident is a point that was shared by Ethan's father Jeff Hull in a phone interview Tuesday from the child's bedside in Cincinnati. The accident itself burned 58 percent of the Hull's body, most all of which was third degree.
"It is amazing that he was able to survive under those circumstances," Hull said. "He was able to run about 100 yards to get in the creek to put it out, then had to get back to his motorbike, kickstart it and ride to my dad's for help."
After being treated at Stonewall Jackson Hospital, he was life flighted to West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh. Two days later, he was moved to Shriners.
"It was a very good move," Hull said. "We have been very blessed with the help he has received. The efforts from the doctors and staff at West Penn with the initial treatments...they were outstanding, and I can't say enough about the care he has received here at Shriners. We wanted him in this atmosphere here in Cincinnati because this facility is specifically children who are burn victims. They have been tremendous here and we are very thankful."
According to the father, Ethan has been through five surgeries with two more scheduled next week.
These procedures have been successful to this point, and the physicians have been very happy with the progress.
"We knew it was going to be a very long term deal from the beginning," Hull said. "But the time frame itself has been improving with each surgery. At this point, they are saying we could be looking at being able to have him home within a month, and then begin the physical therapy sessions.
"That would be much sooner than we initially anticipated. He ate more today than he has since he has been in here, and he is talking more now."
Jeff Hull also wanted to express his appreciation for all of the support for his son and the family during this difficult time.
He wanted to personally thank everyone for their prayers and cards, noting that support and encouragement has not only come from the Lewis County area, but also other parts of West Virginia and from around the country.
After Tuesday night's doubleheader, Wine expressed his own appreciation for the outstanding show of support from the community.
"We had close to a thousand people in here tonight, and we were able to raise over $8,000. It was a really nice show of support from all the people of Lewis County."