The Sampson Board of Commissioners’ meeting this Monday will open with a touching 14-minute video that documents the life-changing experience of one of the county’s finest. The many who helped him through that ordeal will also be honored.
Duke University Hospital recently invited Kyle Cashwell, his family, county officials and local emergency responders to view a training documentary produced on Cashwell’s October 2014 accident. The video includes scenes from a March 29 re-enactment in the Garland area this past March and interviews with Cashwell, his wife Kristy and the first responders, nurses and doctors involved throughout the rescue and recovery.
Since many were unable to attend that special screening, county officials wanted to take the opportunity to screen it for commissioners and the public.
“The film celebrates the skill, dedication and compassion of our local emergency responders and the Duke hospital staff, and more importantly the remarkable strength of Cashwell and his family,” a county statement read.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. this Monday, June 6, at the County Auditorium.
At the special screening, Duke Hospital presented plaques to representatives of Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Taylors Bridge and Garland fire departments, and Sampson County EMS. Such recognition is rarely made to recipients outside of the hospital, which county officials said speaks to the respect the hospital had for local first responders.
Along with screening the short film, the county board will recognize those involved in the emergency response and re-present the Duke University Hospital certificates of appreciation to the first responders.
The video, at nearly 14 minutes, starts with Cashwell’s narration and scenes from rural Sampson, as Cashwell takes the viewer through the beginning of Oct. 20, 2014, a day “just like any other day,” he says. It shows a stylized account of the very real, traumatizing and life-altering experience when his arm and leg were mangled in a corn picker, as Cashwell describes the ordeal.
It shows firefighters, paramedics and Duke Life Flight coming to Cashwell’s aid and one of the many particularly touching moments of the film is an aerial view from the Life Flight helicopter as it whisks Cashwell showing a mass of people in a prayer circle on the ground.
“We prayed as Kyle went up,” wife Kristy narrates, as the video shows her, hands clasped with the first responders who helped her husband.
“Me and my partner looked down to see family come together like that — family, friends and community — and that’s what sustains us all,” Life Flight’s Matt Sanders says.
The video takes viewers through the rescue, the surgeries and the recovery, with doctors and nurses commenting on Cashwell and his strong support system, and Cashwell talks about just how much the Duke staff meant to him and his family.
Many of the same personnel participated in March’s re-enactment, including those from Sampson County EMS, Garland and Taylors Bridge fire departments, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office and Duke Life Flight. Cashwell ultimately lost his arm and leg as a result of the accident, but his resolve remained intact and he said the re-enactment, as well as the interviews, were therapeutic.
Behind the coordination of the film crew and Sampson first responders, Cashwell sought to share his story with others and express his gratitude to the many emergency and medical professionals who helped him that day — and the weeks and months that followed.
Katie Martin, writer/producer for Contrast Creative, has said the videos the company makes for Duke Hospital allow a chance not only to retell a captivating story, but reunite patients with their health care workers along the way.
“There’s always that human element that has to be present, in addition to celebrating teams,” Martin stated. “He was so well-known at Duke. He was there for 70 days and touched so many of the staff. A big part of it was Kyle’s positive attitude and how Kristy supported him throughout all of that.”
Even without an arm and a leg, Cashwell still sees his EMS colleagues, goes to children’s extracurricular activities and works on the farm.
“There was no better therapy than me getting on the tractor again. It was like ‘yeah, I can do this,’” Cashwell said toward the conclusion of the Duke video. “To be able to smell the earth and be on that piece of equipment, it’s just an awesome life. My life is better now than what it’s ever been.”
The video is available to view now on Duke Health’s youtube channel. It is entitled “Kyle’s story.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.