Baby Jessica 20 Year Anniversary

20 years (and 3 days, I missed it a bit) ago Jessica McClure was brought back to the surface in Midland, Texas after having spent 2 1/2 days in a well. If you don’t remember it you were too young or didn’t have access to a TV.

From the Dallas Morning News:

Jessica McClure Morales says it doesn’t bother her that people still call her “Baby Jessica.” Or that she still has a diagonal scar on her forehead: “It shows who I am, and the fact that I am here and that I could not have been here,” she told NBC’s Today show host Matt Lauer on Monday…

I linked to an article about her graduation from High School in 2004, but didn’t say any more. I personally knew three of the big names in the rescue, Steve Forbes from Paramedic class way, way back (1982-83), Robert O’Donnell from a months’ employment at the Midland Fire Department (1986) and Andy Glasscock, friend of a friend before and after. This isn’t meant to be a name-dropping exercise, more to illuminate that fame can be a curse.

That two of the three have had lives-turned-wrong afterward is well documented (O’Donnell committed suicide and Glasscock is doing time in the pen for sexual assault), and cause is always attributed to their reaction to the fleeting nature of fame. Read the linked articles for details (especially O’Donnells’, it’s exceptional), and take away what you can that keeps you alive and mentally healthy.

There’s a book, The Rainbow’s Shadow: True Stories of Baby Jessica’s Rescue & the Tragedies That Followed by D. Lance Lunsford, available from I’ve ordered one.

Cautionary tales for us all. And, congrats to Jessica!

Update 10/18/07: CNN is reading!


  1. Mrs. Fred says:

    For those of us who lived through this with the community (who displayed amazing amounts of compassion and tons of assistance) this brings it all back — one more time.

  2. The community included all of “glued” to our TV’s. I still remember the rescue. I am so glad she is doing well!

  3. I watched that rescue on live television with my parents. I was only about 5, but I still remember it vividly. Thanks for letting us know about the anniversary!

  4. I agree. The NYT article on O’Donnell is truly exceptional. Must be made required reading for all those involved in rescue work.