Tenn. county emergency responders earn Star of Life award

The team of first responders was honored for their quick work in locating a motorcyclist who had gone off the road and down a steep embankment


Mike Christen
The Daily Herald, Columbia, Tenn.

Members of Maury County's emergency services have been recognized by a state-wide organization for saving the life of a motorcycle rider earlier this year.

For their quick response and excellent work under extreme pressure, the team of local responders have received the prestigious Star of Life Award from the Children's Emergency Care Alliance.

Those who responded to the scene were Hardy, Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland, E-911 director Mark Gande, Crystal Whitaker, Kelly Walker and Tina Morton, along with county firefighters Bo Harden, Aaron Blalock and Roy Runions. EMS responders Angie Thomason, Shelia Crabtree and Ryan Cothern also responded to the scene and were recognized with the award.
Those who responded to the scene were Hardy, Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland, E-911 director Mark Gande, Crystal Whitaker, Kelly Walker and Tina Morton, along with county firefighters Bo Harden, Aaron Blalock and Roy Runions. EMS responders Angie Thomason, Shelia Crabtree and Ryan Cothern also responded to the scene and were recognized with the award. (Photo/Maury County Fire Department)

"This is for a call when someone goes beyond to save a life, and typically it has a positive outcome," said Jeff Hardy, the director of Maury County Emergency Management, who also responded to the call.

Members of the Maury County Sheriff's Department, Maury County Fire, Maury Regional Emergency Medical Services and the county's emergency dispatch service worked quickly as a unified team on April 2, 2020 to provide aid to a motorcycle rider, who had sustained serious injuries following an accident on Southpoint Ridge Road in rural community of Hampshire on the western edge of the county.

Those who responded to the scene were Hardy, Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland, E-911 director Mark Gande, Crystal Whitaker, Kelly Walker and Tina Morton, along with county firefighters Bo Harden, Aaron Blalock and Roy Runions.

EMS responders Angie Thomason, Shelia Crabtree and Ryan Cothern also responded to the scene and were recognized with the award.

"He is alive today because of what they did that day. This is a prestigious recognition from all across the state," Hardy said. "Our team is top notch — they want to help their community, and we are blessed to have them here serving us."

Hardy said the responders broke into two teams as the injured caller told dispatchers the rider was in one location, while his phone pinged another spot along the road.

Despite the obstacle, the responders were able to quickly locate the injured rider and begin administering aid.

"Communication is key in any emergency — the cohesiveness in all the major agencies being able to work together for the greater good is key and that is what really worked with this," Hardy said.

After being initially located by Gandee, the rider was secured and transported by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries.

Harden recalled the rider rode off the road down a down a steep incline and had come to a stop after falling through a barbed-wired fence.

"He was in really bad shape," Harden said. "It was in a very remote location, and we did not have any radio signal. We didn't really have a clue where we were going. When we found him, I remember it was big relief."

Members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol also assisted at the scene, helping carry the driver to a nearby spot suitable for the emergency helicopter to land, Harden said.

"Everyone always does a good job when it comes to multiagency responses here, and so we are very thankful for that," Harden said. "I am just really glad it went well. It is always nice to save a life."

The Star of Life award recognizes exceptional front-line care, with a focus on the agencies and providers, who are the initial care responders. An award ceremony for was held in Nashville this May.

"It was unexpected," Hardin said. "It was just another day for us, but it is always nice to receive something like that."

Hardy said the recognition serves as a rare opportunity for the region's local responders to be recognized.

"It is not often that we get to brag about about our people," Hardy said. "This serves as a reminder to the people of Maury County, the taxpayers, that the training and resources that we invest in our local responders, pays off."

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(c)2021 The Daily Herald (Columbia, Tenn.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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