Henrico County VA

‘Angels in disguise’

First responders honored
Kathryn Hardy and her father, Antonio.
A Hermitage High School student who nearly died at school and the pilot of a small plane who barely survived a crash were among the attendees at a recent Henrico Fire awards ceremony honoring first responders.

Held May 10 at the Henrico Theatre, the awards ceremony recognized firefighters and EMT's involved in 18 incidents, who were chosen out of 36,000 calls for service for displaying actions above and beyond the call of duty.

Also recognized were members of the Hermitage HS staff, including principal and associate principal Omega Wilson and Diane Saunders, nurses Sandra Ruder of Hermitage HS and Catherine Brawley of Pocahontas MS, and physical education teacher Nancy Steiner, for their roles in saving the life of Kathryn Hardy.

Dead for 10 minutes
On the morning of June 7, 2011, Hardy was in a stairwell at Hermitage, heading to the school's annual awards ceremony with her sister.

"I was going to ask if I could groom with the vet class instead of going to the ceremony," recalled Hardy, whose sister is in the veterinary program at Hermitage.

But with no warning, and no prior history of heart problems, Hardy collapsed in full cardiac arrest. Lying face down on the stairway, she still had her book bag slung over her shoulder. Her fellow students reacted quickly with calls for help, as did Steiner, who went for the AED (automated external defibrillator) while the nurses performed CPR with the help of Glenn “Chip” Holder of the Henrico Police.

If not for the presence of the AED (at least one of which has been installed in every Henrico school in recent years) and the teamwork in using it, observers agree that Hardy would not have survived.

"She was shocked twice," said Kathryn's father, Antonio Hardy. "She was actually dead for ten minutes."

As Capt. James Mellon -- who arrived on the scene as Hardy was taken to the ambulance with her pulse and breathing restored – remarked following the awards ceremony, "There's no doubt the AED is what saved Kathryn's life. . . The fact they've used this AED to save one life made it worth every penny they spent."

Special birthday
As for Hardy, she celebrated her 20th birthday the night of the awards ceremony, and said she enjoyed the novelty of being on stage as a theater-full of well-wishers congratulated her on the occasion.

Now fully recovered and finishing up her senior year, Hardy has little memory of the incident. But she has a reminder -- the scar above her heart where a defibrillator device has been implanted -- and she does not hesitate to show it off.

"I like to freak out my friends," she said with a laugh. "Because if you press above the scar, you feel the defibrillator."

For only a brief moment, however, she sobered as she considered what might have been.

"It's really scary to think back about that," Hardy said of June 7, "and [how] if they weren't there, I could have been dead."

Compassionate efforts
Among others who attended the ceremony to express gratitude to emergency personnel were 25-year-old Tony Carr and his family.

Carr was taking off from Richmond International Airport on April 11, 2011, when his twin engine aircraft lost power and crashed on the taxiway.

Richmond Airport Fire Dept. personnel arrived on the scene to find the plane completely engulfed in flames. After extinguishing most of the fire within and surrounding the plane, rescuers were able to approach and determine that Carr was still alive -- but pinned inside.

Even as residual flames still licked at the plane, rescuers went in with extrication tools and removed the pilot to begin treatment. As requested units from Henrico Fire and Henrico Volunteer Rescue Squad (HVRS) arrived, personnel pitched in to assist Carr, who had second and third degree burns over 60 percent of his body and needed advance airway treatment because of his burns and facial fractures. He had also suffered internal bleeding, a broken pelvis and six broken ribs.

Within 33 minutes of receiving the emergency call, rescuers had Carr at the door of the VCU Trauma Center.

Carr, who spent three months in the hospital and had 19 surgeries, has since married and taken up residence in Henrico. On stage with his new wife, Sharon, he was clearly emotional and did not talk long.

"I've been a pilot for 10 years," he told the audience, "and never endured anything like this."

But Carr's mother, Cindy, who had flown in from Texas to attend the ceremony and to celebrate Mother's Day with her son, took the opportunity to express her heartfelt gratitude -- once more -- to the rescue personnel who have now become part of the Carrs' extended family.

"You are all angels in disguise," she told them. "Angels who . . . kept our family whole."

When given the chance to meet her son's rescuers in the hospital, Cindy Carr recalled, she heard details about the crash that "as Tony's mother were hard to hear . . . but as a registered nurse I could appreciate the skills you used.

"You were all so welcoming to these strangers from Texas," Cindy Carr told the responders, who have developed personal relationships with the Carr family during Tony's treatments and recovery process. "This experience has opened my eyes to the compassionate side of your work."

Noting that she has framed photos of both rescue crews in the den of her Houston home, Cindy Carr said the pictures have never failed to make her smile.

"If you should ever feel down, or unappreciated, or wonder why you do what you do," she said, "[just remember that] without you, our world would be shattered.

"That is a debt that can never be repaid."

More cyclists on the way

Riders to pass through county on East Coast Greenway tour
From October 4-9, 35 cyclists will be riding through Henrico County as part of a 325-mile tour of the East Coast Greenway (ECG) route from Fredericksburg, Virginia, to Raleigh, NC.

A 2,900-mile trail route that extends from the Canadian border at Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida, The East Coast Greenway is heading into its 25th year. The Week A Year (WAY) Tour is an annual ride and fundraiser that has been working its way south since the first WAY Tour launched from Calais, Maine in 2011. Riders cover a different section of the Greenway each year and are on target to complete the route in Key West in 2019. > Read more.

Henrico woman wins $1M in Va. Lottery game

When Amanda Spiller of Henrico saw that she’d won the $1 million prize in the Virginia Lottery’s $100 Million Cash Extravaganza game, it didn’t immediately sink in.

“I was in shock. . . complete shock,” she said. “I had to double and triple check.”

She bought the winning ticket at the 7-Eleven at 2750 Hungary Spring Road in Henrico. She had the choice of taking the full $1 million prize over 30 years or a one-time cash option of $681,000 before taxes. She chose the cash option. The store received a $10,000 bonus from the Lottery for selling the winning ticket. > Read more.

The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band to perform Oct. 15

Henrico County Recreation and Parks is hosting a concert by The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band on Thursday, Oct. 15 at Henrico Theatre, 305 East Nine Mile Road in Highland Springs. This free concert will be held at 7 p.m. and will feature Soldier-Musicians from the U.S. Army Field Band.

Since its inception in 1981, The Volunteers has been telling the Army story through rock, pop, country, and patriotic music. Its members have performed for millions of listeners in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Kuwait, and Iraq. This group tours more than 100 days each year, bringing a powerful message of patriotism and support to communities large and small. > Read more.


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The Henrico County Economic Development Authority, an organization dedicated to encouraging the positive growth of Henrico businesses and communities, is hosting the CATALYST Business Workshop for the second straight year.… Full text

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