The people behind the rescue and recovery of Kyle Cashwell were honored at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners, which lauded Cashwell and his family for their bravery and resolve throughout the ordeal.
Duke University Hospital recently presented plaques to representatives of the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Taylors Bridge and Garland fire departments, and Sampson County EMS for their part in the response to Cashwell following his Oct. 20, 2014 farming accident, in which he ultimately lost an arm and leg. Such recognition is rarely made to those outside of the hospital.
County manager Ed Causey’s daughter, who is on the staff at Duke, concurred to her father it was “unusual.” Cashwell said the awards have never extended beyond Wake and Orange counties in the state.
“These are pretty high awards to be given out to a county,” Cashwell noted.
“It was very inspirational,” Emergency Management director Ronald Bass said of the Duke ceremony. “The president of Duke informed me that without the proper care that Kyle Cashwell received in the field, as well as during the hospital stay and with family support, the outcome wouldn’t have been as positive as it is.
“I think it can be an inspiration to us all,” Bass remarked.
On Monday, the county board screened the documentary Contrast Creative made about the accident and Cashwell’s rescue and recovery, utilizing interviews with all involved — Kyle especially — as well as re-enacted scenes including those people. Following the 14-minute film, Chairman Billy Lockamy led the board and those in attendance in a standing ovation for Cashwell and his family.
The board then re-presented the plaques while praising first responders, Cashwell and his family. Cashwell shared his gratitude to his fellow first responders — he was a county paramedic and has since retired — and the rest of the county.
“I would thank everyone in Sampson County for everything they’ve done,” Cashwell said. “People did things for me they didn’t have to do, the county did things for me they didn’t have to do. The people I work with did things they didn’t have to do. People stood behind me and supported me and my family, and with the grace of God I’m able to be here today. The Lord put everybody in the right place at the right time for everything to come out the way it did.”
He thanked the many involved, from the Sheriff’s Office to paramedics and firefighters, who often go unheralded for what they do every day. Even Cashwell, a paramedic at the time, conceded he took it for granted.
“There were many times working with EMS when I picked up people and dropped them off at the hospital and, over the years, never really thought about it,” he remarked. “Then you’re on the other side of that ballgame, and it changes your outlook about everything. I would just like to say thank you again.”
Cashwell offered special thanks to Bass, EMS chief Erick Herring, Deputy Jason Riley and many others, while wife Kristy thanked the county board for considering law enforcement, emergency management and fire departments in its annual budget. Many of those resources were there to save Cashwell’s life.
“If we didn’t have that equipment,” she said, “Kyle might not be here today. I just want to thank you for the thought you give these departments.”
Commissioners offered words of support and adulation for the Cashwell family, some commenting how they believed he stood as a living testament to what was possible through God. Causey said he was impressed not only by Kyle, a sentiment he has shared in months past, but by the constant and unwavering support provided by Kristy.
“As remarkable as Kyle is — I’m not going to take anything away from him, his family, or EMS or the Sheriff’s Department — she may be one of the most remarkable people I have ever heard of in my tenure in Sampson County. Her love and support, and what she did during Kyle’s ordeal … as impressive as Kyle is, I’m not so sure I’m not more impressed with what his wife has done to support him.”
“You don’t get married for the good days,” she answered. “You get married for every day.”
At Monday’s meeting, as part of the consent agenda, resolutions were also adopted in recognition of:
• Former Autryville Mayor Patricia Williams, who served as mayor from December 1997 to October 2015. During her years, she was a “tireless advocate for her beloved small town and a catalyst for its progress and prosperity,” the resolution reads. That included the planning and construction of a new Town Hall, the development of a walking trail and Farmer’s Market, and numerous beautification and drainage projects.
• Billy McDaniel, who on July 1, 2016, Billy McDaniel, will celebrate 50 years in the hardware business. Affectionately known as “Mr. Hardware”, McDaniel began working part-time at the downtown Sampson Hardware, later known as Ace Hardware, and continued to serve his beloved customers when in 2007 the business was bought out by Farmer’s Hardware and he moved to Lisbon Street.
• Pastor Marvin T. Clowney Sr. of Christ Missionary Baptist Church. On June 13, the church will hold a celebration for Clowney, who “has provided spiritual leadership” since 1994, not only pastoring in his community, but also serving on the Sampson County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and as Dean of Ushers for the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. For the past seven years, he has served Christ Missionary Baptist.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.