Jon Gray of Houston is a seasoned camper. Growing up, he and his family camped everywhere. Packing up to head out — hopefully to the middle of nowhere — is second nature to Jon and his partner Ron Drumm.
Last spring, Jon and Ron were looking forward to relaxing and unplugging. They packed the tent, sleeping bags, a canopy, lantern, and an entire camp kitchen, including stove, ice chest, 5-gallon jug of water, food, snacks, tablecloth and propane water heater. However, they discovered they didn’t need to pack their most important camping gear, they had an active OnStar service plan for Jon’s GMC Sierra.
A day before they were to meet friends, they drove with their new Australian Shepherd, Jenni, about four hours to Texas hill country and the remote Pedernales Falls State Park.
Middle of nowhere
“We always go up a day early. It’s quiet and nobody is there. It’s very peaceful,” says Jon, who has a high-stress job for a national cable TV company. “We do a lot of hiking, fishing and exploring the woods.” That day was beautiful, with clear skies and a nice breeze. But it was also a little warm, Jon admits.
Suddenly, Ron said he wasn’t feeling well and needed to sit down.
“He put his head down on the table,” Jon recalls. “His face was beet red. Next thing I knew, he fainted backwards.”
Jon quickly caught Ron before he hit the ground as one thought raced through Jon’s head. “We’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Ron gained consciousness in a matter of moments and sipped some cool water.
“I’ve never felt that way before,” he says. “I was lightheaded and just couldn’t catch my breath.” Then Ron lost consciousness a second time.
Realizing he needed to take action, Jon remembered he had an active OnStar service plan and he pressed the red Emergency button* in his truck.
“I have had OnStar since 2011,” he says. “I’ve never had an emergency like this. I’ve really only used it for navigation* and to make calls.* But this was a huge relief. OnStar was terrific.”
Although he didn’t know their exact location in the park, the OnStar Advisor knew their coordinates. “She immediately found my location and explained to me what she was going to do. She got someone else to help her. The second Advisor contacted first responders and the park ranger.
“The Advisor stayed with me the entire time, even when I went back in the tent to check on Ron. She talked with me until help arrived. What a comfort she was,” Jon says. The park rangers arrived first and were soon followed by the ambulance that transported Ron to a hospital in Austin.
Back to tranquility
Doctors ran a range of tests and concluded that Ron had been severely dehydrated. Several hours later, they released him and told him to drink lots of fluids and forget hiking for the weekend. Eventually, they were able to relax and enjoy the rest of their time off.
The incident proved a wakeup call for Ron, who has since worked to improve his overall health by lowering his blood pressure and cholesterol levels. “If we didn’t have OnStar, I don’t know what we would have done,” Ron says.