Direct From Jeff:

That’s Just Jesse!

JesseYesterday afternoon before playing at the Entertainment Center in Beebe, AR I was told of a young man, 23 year old Jesse Cockrum, who had just gotten out of the hospital for burn wounds and is a huge fan of my music. He was SO excited to get out of the hospital and was DETERMINED to come to last night’s show! But, Jesse’s doctors strongly advised against it due to the depth of his injuries and his long uphill climb to recovery. SO Luke and I went to visit Jesse at home!

I met Jesse’s Mom and Dad and his girlfriend Brianna and was AMAZED and BLESSED by Jesse’s story.

He and his family and Brianna had gone to his cabin to go bird hunting on New Year’s Day and it was cold. Jesse was trying to light the propane wall heater in the cabin when suddenly it had EXPLODED, propelling Jesse through the air about 12 feet across the room and catching everything in the cabin on fire.

In Jesse’s words, ” I stood up and saw Brianna and my Mom and all I could think of was getting them out of the house!”

Jesse ran and literally shoved and pushed his mother and then his girlfriend out of the burning cabin to safety, not realizing that he himself was on fire and badly burnt.

His mother was badly burned on her leg and Brianna had taken a deep cut on her foot, but Jesse bore the brunt of the blast.

His hands, arms and face were terribly burned PLUS he had inhaled a lot of the smoke and propane fueled fire and his lungs were toasted.

His mother cried as she recalled the incident, saying,

“He is our Hero!”

Jesse was in the hospital in ICU in Missouri, unable to breathe on his own for many days due to the severity of the damage to his lungs, and was comatose for several days.

When he woke up he kept waving his hands and they finally figured out that he wanted to communicate and the first words he wrote were “GOD BLESSED US!”

He spent 53 days in the hospital, and I met him the day after he was released. He is healing nicely, and after he showed me a picture of his face taken immediately after the burn I began to understand why Jesse felt and STILL FEELS blessed.

He said, “I NEVER thought I would have my face again!”

But to see him, you would never know his face took a full frontal gas explosion, and his hands and arms, while still covered in compression bandages are healing nicely too.

But to Jesse, his own slow, painful journey to a scarred recovery is STILL secondary to the thankfulness he feels at still having his family alive and well with him.

He is SUCH a selfless young man!! His cabin had no insurance since it was in a flood zone, so he lost everything! But to him, that’s all just STUFF! He still has his loved ones, and according to him, “They can’t be replaced! Everything else can!”

As I said a prayer with everyone, with my arm around his back, Jesse wept in thankfulness to our Heavenly Father for sparing him and his family and I understood that it may be true that Jesse is a fan of my music… BUT I AM A FAN OF HIM!!!

Then I realized, That’s just Jesse.

  1. Diana wicker

    881 days ago

    God’s Got It. Amen

  2. Jeff Bates

    880 days ago

    God does indeed “Got it” Diana!

  3. sheila fortenberry

    879 days ago

    God bless u and jesse

  4. Angela Turner

    879 days ago

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sharron

    879 days ago

    What a story of courage and love and self sacrifice. One that just reaches to a person’s heart and very soul then blossoms into HAPPY TEARS. A special spirit. Such a show of support and Christlike love from you Jeff. This is what should be important news in these days of such discouragement, it certainly put a smile on my face. His faith ..WOW, may God bless him , his family and you.

  6. Tami Ellsworth

    879 days ago

    That is a touching story. I had happy tears in my eyes the first time I read it. I wanted to share with you that my mom got me hooked on you. I too am a recovering addict. One day we were driving somewhere and she had your cd in (I’m still not sure if she did it on purpose or not) and “On the wings of mama’s prayers” came on. I was only payin partial attention to the song at first, but it caught my attention and I restarted it. There are still days I think the only thing that saved me was my mom’s never giving up on me. Anyway, I’ve been a fan ever since and I admire your honest and willingness to discuss your struggle with your fans. I’ve only got to see you once (it was so great of you, Michael Ray, and everyone else involved to preform in that horrible weather at the Tipton Pork Festival last year) and I would love to see you again in a better setting for everyone. I made a quilt for my mom out of the tshirts she had of yours and you signed it in Tipton. I really wanted you to see the whole thing but there were a lot of fans behind us and I didn’t want to keep anyone waiting in that storm. I just want you to know you are an inspiration!!

  7. Connie Odom

    879 days ago

    God Bless Jesse and his family! And you too Jeff!

  8. Angel

    879 days ago

    A true Hero… Thank you for sharing this inspirational story. What an amazing person Jesse is Jeff! GOD sure has big plans for him in the future… As HE does you too! Big HUGS from this NW girl!

  9. colleen

    879 days ago

    This was truly an amazing act of selflessnes. Such a wonderful person many blessings to them all.

  10. Eric

    879 days ago

    Glad he survived. I thought you were resurrecting the old Kevin Denney song….

  11. Lori

    875 days ago

    God bless u Jesse & your family. Sending prayers for you all. And Jeff what a wonderful thing you did, gong to visit him. Truly touching.

  12. Teresa

    870 days ago

    I don’t think you realize what an inspiration you are to so many people. I truly believe God puts certain people in our lives for certain reasons. I also believe with all my heart that you are one of those people God is using for His good.

  13. Chele

    870 days ago

    What a touching story. Anyone who is willing to sacrifice their life for those they love IS a HERO, enough said.
    I have an very small idea of what his family is going thru. When my nephew was a tiny tot, he stepped barefooted onto a tree stump that his grandmother was burning out in their front yard. He had severe burns to his feet & legs. Now that he is 30 something, and even though his burns were bad, we can’t help to thank God that is wasn’t any worse.
    God Bless Jesse & his family.