Most parents can’t help but be a little overprotective when it comes to their children. While plenty of kids are smart and capable, they still have so much to learn. That doesn’t mean they can’t surprise you, though.

That was certainly the case for Marshalltown, Iowa, resident Matt Gannaway and his children. After enlisting his four kids to help him dismantle their grandmother’s shed, disaster very nearly struck.

With their dad injured and unconscious, the kids sprung into action. What they did next made them heroes…

Marshalltown, Iowa, resident Matt Gannaway is the proud father to four wonderful children: 13-year-old Ethan, 11-year-old Peyton, nine-year-old Addison, and five-year-old Kaidan. So when he was asked to help his mother with a DIY project, he happily enlisted in his kids’ help.

After sitting idly in her backyard for decades, Matt’s mother’s old shed was due to be dismantled. The rickety old thing was a safety hazard and an eyesore. Luckily, Matt’s kids were willing to lend their old man a hand.


Initially, Matt and his children spent about 90 minutes taking apart the small wooden structure. “Everything was going great,” Matt said in an interview. “The kids were all helping well.” What came next, though, shocked everyone…

After the first few steps of the dismantling, there was a very real danger of the shed collapsing. Since he didn’t want to risk any of the kids getting hurt, Matt told them to wait inside the house. It turned out to be a wise move.


“[The shed] came down like it was supposed to,” Matt said in another interview. “But then it flipped over sideways and knocked me out and pinned me underneath it.” When the shed collapsed on top of him, Matt was trapped, unconscious, and bleeding…

The loud “kaboom” sound, as Addison described it, caused by the collapsing shed prompted the Gannaway children to step out from their grandmother’s home. Immediately, they all sprinted around to the shed to see what had caused the noise.

“All I saw was the shed just crashing down and my dad being trapped,” Addison recalled. She then explained what was going through her head next as she and her siblings decided what to do: “He’s gasping for air. I must save him.”


Understandably, five-year-old Kaidan was particularly upset by what he saw. “He was bleeding on his head and neck and all over the place,” Kaidan explained. Yet, despite being the youngest, he never hesitated to help his older siblings save their father.

Smartly, Matt had given them instructions before they began their project regarding what to do if there was an emergency. “I had them step outside the fence, in the house, and then I gave my son a cell phone and said, ‘If anything bad happens call 911,'” he recalled.

The children had clearly been paying close attention, because that’s exactly what they did! Still, they were worried an ambulance wouldn’t arrive in time. So, Matt’s kids decided to help their dad themselves. After recruiting two other children from the neighborhood, they got to work.

The six children joined forces to lift the heavy wreckage and drag Matt to a safer spot. “It was a heavy shed,” said 13-year-old Ethan. “We tried to keep him from dying and get the ambulance over here to save him.”

More impressive still, Addison even pushed through the pain from a softball injury to save her dad. “A softball hit me right here and cracked my bone,” she explained while gesturing to her arm. Then she added, “Family comes before my body.”


All told, Matt spent just five minutes unconscious. When he came to, he knew he was in good hands. “I woke up to hear the sirens pulling up in front of the house,” he said. “I was just in extreme, extreme pain.”

After the paramedics transported Matt to the hospital, doctors determined that he had a broken scapula, as well as a graze on the part of his head where the shed had hit. Yet things would have been so much worse were it not for his kids’ quick-thinking!

The frightening incident reminded Matt of what’s most important in his life. “Especially after a situation like this, you have to live your life to the fullest, and my family and kids are number one to me,” he explained.

Matt’s children credited their positivity that helped them win the day. “Nothing is impossible if we set our minds to it and work together,” Ethan said. “I don’t think, on a normal basis, kids can lift a roof off their dad.”

Ultimately, the children were just glad that they were able to help their father. “I’m very happy to see that my dad is OK and made it through it,” Ethan said. “I don’t know what I would have done if he had died.”


Not long after the accident, Matt resumed his fatherly duties. He even took his kids to softball practice that same day! “The least I could do is try to support them a little bit,” he said in an interview.

Matt couldn’t be more thankful for his heroic young children. “I’m just absolutely so proud of them,” he added. “[When] I heard that my kids were the ones that saved me, I couldn’t have had a prouder moment.”


It’s really remarkable that the Gannaway children acted so quickly. Clearly, doing so came naturally to them. Hearing them tell the story in their own words, it’s clear that these are some great kids!

There’s no telling what the future holds for these kids, but they proved that they knew exactly what to do in an emergency. The whole family has every right to be proud!

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