CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Each month, we’re recognizing the extraordinary people in our community that step up in times of trouble for our “13 Gives Back Award.”
This month’s recipients are the men and women from the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office. The group of deputies that accepted the award with Sheriff Mike Rutherford today, Oct. 22 each saved a life in 2020.
Deputy Ashley Keadle, Kanawha County Deputy of the Year, and a group of citizens pulled a man three times her size from a burning car in March. Keadle found the vehicle on fire and the driver trapped when she arrived at the crash in Davis Creek. She and three others removed the driver before he was more seriously injured. Both the driver and Keadle were taken to the hospital where he was treated for injuries and she was treated for smoke inhalation.
“I just needed to get this man out of this car. I know how quickly fire can spread,” Keadle said. ” That man, he meant something to somebody. He’s a father, he’s a grandfather, an uncle, a cousin, a husband, whatever, and I just couldn’t let anything happen to him.”
“We are not only proud of her for risking her life to save someone else, but especially grateful we live in a community where people jump in to save a stranger’s life. And we are glad none of the injuries were worse,” Rutherford said at the time of the incident.
Deputy T. D. Burks applied a tourniquet to a shooting victim to stop further loss of blood before he was transported to a hospital. The sheriff said Burk’s actions potentially saved the man’s life. In September, a man had fired warning shots at a man who allegedly stole his ATV. The suspect fled on foot and deputies later found him with a gunshot wound to the leg.
Burks says the deputies receive training from current and former EMS personnel to properly use the tourniquets, which is how he says he knew what he needed to do to help the man.
“When I was able to locate that male in the riverbed and observed the substantial gunshot wound to his left leg, I knew I had to apply it to the uppermost part of his leg to get the bleeding controlled until EMS could get him out of there,” Burks says.
Deputies Dingess and Shamblin worked together to pull a driver to safety before his car rolled off a hillside. At the scene in South Charleston, the driver was unable to climb through the passenger door due to his injuries. Deputy Dingess got a rope from his vehicle and climbed inside the vehicle, working with Deputy Shamblin to pull the driver out of the car, up the hill and to safety where he received medical treatment.
“We work as a team almost every night,” Shamblin says. “He was sliding over the hill when we got on the scene. I reached in the vehicle and grabbed him, and Deputy Dingess held on to my belt as we were keeping him from going over the hill.”
“We’re tasked daily with making split-second decisions and this is a prime example. He was able to see how bad the situation was and we were able to communicate to get the guy out of the vehicle,” Dingess said. “Keadle said it earlier, that man meant something to somebody. He’s a father, a son, a brother. He’s somebody in the community that somebody loves, and that’s what we’re here for is to help.
“The Deputies acted without delay, and in spite of the risk to themselves, to save the life of the already injured driver. I am very proud of them for doing what law enforcement officers are called to do: protect and serve our communities,” Rutherford said at the time of the incident.
If you would like to nominate a first responder or group of first responders for the 13 Gives Back award, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.