An Oklahoma Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient who died this week from injuries sustained in a home explosion is being credited with saving his 3-year-old granddaughter from the massive blast.
Don Osteen, 69, was having lunch with young Paetyn in their Seminole County home last Thursday when an apparent gas leak set off the explosion, leveling the house and burning much of their bodies, according to local news reports.
The heroic grandfather rushed to cover the girl with his body and then carried her for about a quarter of a mile in the small town of Bowlegs to find help, their family wrote in a GoFundMe page set up to help them with medical costs. But Osteen — who had third-degree burns over 78% of his body, broken ribs and a punctured lung — died Monday during surgery, the family said.
Susie Reagan, a woman describing herself as Paetyn’s aunt, said in a GoFundMe update Tuesday that the family is devastated and that the girl was still not aware her grandfather died.
The child also suffered serious burns and is “on the road to recovery,” Reagan wrote.
Osteen, who was also a longtime educator, loved spending time with Paetyn and enjoyed helping people in need, his son told NBC affiliate KFOR-TV.
“He wasn’t worried about himself at all,” Brendon Osteen told the station. “I’ll leave it at that, but save her was the message he was trying to get across and he did exactly that.”
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