Judith Waters makes no effort to hide her tears of gratitude.
The 74-year-old Ada resident was doing yard work Thursday when she tripped on branches and fell in her front yard, injuring her arm. She struggled to retrieve the smartphone in her pocket and was, with difficulty, able to call for help.
“I had (my phone) in my back pocket,” Waters said. “I called the non-emergency number. Apparently, he must have heard the call.”
“He” is Ada Police Detective Joe Machetta.
“I was actually on my way home for lunch,” Machetta said. “I heard them call and say there was an elderly female who had fallen in her yard and might have a broken arm. I was literally about three blocks away when the call came out, so I went on ahead and drove by here.”
Machetta found Waters sitting in the yard with a neighbor.
“I sat on the ground in that grass, crying like a baby because my arm hurt so bad,” Waters said.
“I didn’t know how long she’d actually been out there,” Machetta said, “so I went on ahead – it was high noon – an elderly lady who had been out in the yard no telling how long. I figured it would be better for me to get here quicker. So I stopped by. I did look at her arm. I’m not a medical person, but I’ve seen plenty of broken arms. So I grabbed a board that she had over here by her garage, and I put it underneath her arm to help stabilize it and immobilize it.”
“He did do that,” Waters said tearfully.
Machetta then called headquarters to let them know the nature of the injury. Mercy EMS arrived on the scene shortly after and put Waters’ arm in a splint, then transported her to the hospital.
“I’m so thankful,” Waters said, turning to Machetta. “I can’t thank you enough.”
But, Machetta wasn’t finished yet. With Waters safely in the hands of EMS personnel, he turned his attention to the cause of Waters’ injury.
“I’d seen that the drop-off (where Waters has fallen) and how far the branches had stuck out,” Machetta said. “I asked her how far she was trying to trim everything in.”
“And I said, ‘I don’t want you doing that!’” Waters said.
“I told her I wasn’t asking,” Machetta joked. “I was asking her how far because I had already made up in my mind because I’ve got a grandmother myself, and she tries to do a lot of yard work that she doesn’t need to be out doing. Especially in this heat, I wasn’t going to let (Waters) come back out and try to do this now with a broken arm.”
Machetta said when he got off work Thursday afternoon, he decided to come back out to Waters’ yard. He told his sons Logan Machetta and Oscar Gutierrez, both 13, that he was going to help “a nice young lady who had fallen and hurt her arm. They asked if they could come and help.”
Machetta said completing the yard work took about 35 minutes.
“We made sure she knew everything was taken care of,” Machetta said. “We made sure it was to her liking.”
“It felt pretty good, just helping out,” Logan said.
“It felt good to help a lady that really needed help,” Oscar said, “especially with her yard work.”
Waters said her broken arm was not a compound fracture, and doctors expected her to make a full recovery.
“My problem now is, I gotta stay of trouble!” Waters said.