A Can-Do Attitude Kindles a Continuum of Kindness
September 24, 2020 by Rose Nemunaitis

Newbury Grad Raises Money for Burn Victims at Junior Fair

On a seemingly ordinary Friday night in October of last year, Newbury High School senior and cheerleader Liberty Mosher was uncharacteristically at home.

On a seemingly ordinary Friday night in October of last year, Newbury High School senior and cheerleader Liberty Mosher was uncharacteristically at home.

Normally, she’d be cheering at the Black Knights football game, but that night’s game was at least two hours away and the school decided cheerleaders need not travel.

So Mosher gathered at a friend’s home for a small patio fire.

High school was nearing the end — for Newbury, permanently, as it would soon transfer to West Geauga Schools. Get-togethers would be rare and yearbooks would hold onto the past with memories.

But Mosher had firm plans for the future.

Following graduation, with a lifelong respect for the military and help toward college tuition, she had planned to enlist in the United States Air National Guard.

However, little did she know on that fall night, her life would drastically change.

The patio fire wasn’t getting going, so Mosher’s friend thought to sprinkle some gas on it.

“Now don’t get me wrong, we all knew it was dangerous to do this, and I’m not going to lie … we had done it before and everything was fine,” Mosher added.

This time was different.

Mosher said in order to know exactly what happened, you would need a slow-motion video of it.

It is assumed while her friend was pouring gas in the fire, it followed the fumes into the can, which shot straight back out of her friend’s hand — landing in the yard of neighbors across the street — making the flames go sideways and hit Mosher.

She estimated she was on fire for about 20 seconds, but it was long enough to cause second-degree burns on 70% of her face and various other parts of her body.

“Probably one of the weirdest things to think about is, my life changed completely in 20 seconds,” Mosher added.

What did not change, however, was her will to survive and stay positive.

Many who know her describe Mosher as a young woman not defined by a major setback, but by her unwavering spirit and drive to help others.

The 2018 Great Geauga County Junior Fair Queen and longtime 4-H’er demonstrated that drive during this year’s Geauga County Junior Fair.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” Mosher said, adding that’s just what she did as emotions ran deep Sept. 5 during the Junior Fair auction.

Mosher raised $2,600, about $112 a pound, for her pen of market chickens — breaking an all-time record — and donated all of her proceeds to Aluminum Cans for Burned Children.

Hambden Township’s Dan Chapman, Mosher’s uncle, was the buyer.

“God let me be in the right place at the right time,” Chapman said. “It was so much fun. It was quite emotional.”

Mosher said breaking the record meant “the world” to her.

“I never won grand champion or reserve during my time in 4-H, so I didn’t know that excitement of the crowd going in the auction to sell,” she recalled. “It was like everywhere I looked, people were reading my sign I held during that auction that said ‘100% proceeds to ACBC Aluminum Cans For Burned Children’ and their faces lit up and they cheered.

“Once I started crying, everyone was crying,” she added. “I think I started crying when it hit $2,000, which was not even the record yet, but I had this thought in my head that was like, ‘Wow, this is the coolest thing I have ever done’ and all the emotions hit me and that was it.”

The fair donation wasn’t the only endeavor influenced by Mosher’s accident. Her time in the hospital paved the way for a new career path.

The night of the fire, Mosher, who is also an Auburn Career Center EMT graduate, was taken via emergency helicopter to MetroHealth Burn Care Center.

“I burned 22% of my body, including my face, neck, chest, part of my stomach, my left arm and both of my legs, with my left leg being worse,” Mosher said. “It was a long 12 days and those 12 days were only the beginning.”

Mosher had dressing changes and had to wear sleeves to cover up her burns until Christmas Eve of 2019, and attended physical therapy through February 2020.

“Physical therapy for burns is not like other injuries,” Mosher said. “You have to let most injuries heal a little bit before you can start. With burns, you start the first day you are awake. New skin grows so fast and it grows in tight, so you must stretch it every day so you can get full mobility back. This was 110% the hardest part of the healing process.”

Mosher recently started having laser surgery to help some of the scaring. She believes one of the biggest reasons she healed so well was her mindset.

“Without the prayers of many, I would not be here today,” she added. “There were times when I was upset about the situation I was in, but most of the time, I thought, ‘You can really only go up from here.’”

She added, “I was always raised with the quote ‘someone has it worse than you’ and that wasn’t said to belittle my feelings, but more as a reminder of how blessed I am. So, when I woke up in the hospital, that is what I thought of because in all honesty, I had no idea what kind of situation I was in when it happened and I didn’t know if I was going to wake up.”

Mosher remembered many people telling her she was going to be okay.

“But, when you hear that life-flight is coming to pick you up, you have to think, ‘Well something has to be wrong,’” Mosher said. “When I did wake up, I was just extremely happy to be alive and know that my injuries would hopefully not cause any issues in the long run. In the end, I really believe that God only gives you things he knows you can handle.”

Mosher’s mom, Gwynne Young, said her daughter’s faith really came into play during her recovery.

“The very next morning (following the accident) before her friends came, we sat in her hospital bed trying to wrap our heads around what happened and what the future looked like. That’s no easy task, especially since we all have plans, that day, next week, month and year, and it was clear that lots of those things weren’t going to be possible on the timeline she had laid out,” Young said.

They decided to give it all up to God.

“I remember praying with her that morning and us accepting that we had no control, but that He did,” Young said. “She is a determined and strong young lady, but I’ll tell you, getting through some of those days, I just don’t know how it could have ever happened without the Grace of God.”

Mosher is now a student at Cleveland State University and majoring in nursing with the hope to one day become a trauma/burn nurse.

“I knew I wanted to go into healthcare in one way or another and during my sophomore year of high school, my class went on a trip to Auburn Career Center, where we got to look at different programs and I fell in love with the EMT class. It also helped that I had an amazing teacher (Chardon Fire Department Capt. John Blauch), who pushed me in a lot of ways and helped me figure out nursing was my career path,” Mosher said.

Blauch remembered being called to the scene of Mosher’s accident.

“My heart sank. When I heard, I dropped everything and had to go,” Blauch said.

During her hospital stay, she continued to complete her EMT homework for participation points.

Blauch said he is not surprised at her recovery, passion or new career path.

“That’s Liberty,” Blauch said. “She has a great family. If there are angels on earth, she is probably one of them. I think she is destined to be a burn nurse, intensive care or flight.”