The Original Rescue Crew
In Photo Galleries, Community Groups, there is a picture from about 1965 of the “first ones,” the first rescue crew in Cliffside. This claim is inaccurate. Now, they may have re-organized as a new crew in ’65 but we had a crew in the very early fifties.
I believe it was A. C. McKinney who first brought it up. The fellows in the American Legion Post got together and A. C. was elected the captain. We used the funeral home phone for contacts. Not all but several including myself bought CB radios for communications. It worked fairly well for a while.
Looking back on it, it was feeble and a sorry effort. However, it was all a self-help thing and we did do a lot of good. We got together for meetings to practice and to exchange information on rescue work. I can recall many faces but not names in the original group. A. C. and Horton Landreth, Clyde Sorgee, T. J. McDaniel, (More about him later) and Earl Johnson. We had a young man Guffey and a young man from South Main Street whose name I cannot recall right now. The last mentioned one taught me how to make a monkey fist for use with rope work, when it is needed to throw a rope and I had asked all the ex-sailors in the crew but none of them could show me.
I taught them and had them practice climbing a rope (single rope…no knots or anything on it). That is a good thing to know but that is another story for later.
I went to Hendersonville to an annual Red Cross School where they taught and certified swimming and First Aid instructors. I took the First Aid course. Taught classes from Cliffside to Lake Lure. There for a while I had a different class for each of the five days of the week (in the evenings) I had a certificate to teach Junior, Standard and Advanced First Aid. It took a special dispensation from Atlanta Red Cross Headquarters but I had a request and did teach an instructors class. This was at Spindale for a group of schoolteachers so they could teach Red Cross First Aid at the schools. Once had a class at Forest City with only pregnant women. Of course we had a class for the crew members. Everything then was a self-help effort and we had no outside help.
Just for practice (which we did from time to time) one Sunday afternoon I was living at Six Points at the time and I climbed up into a scrub pine tree only about 15 or 20 feet off the ground, hooked one leg over a limb, lay backwards up side down and had (I forgot who was with me) go to the nearest phone at the Whisnant residence and call in squad saying a man had a broken leg and was hanging upside down in a tree. I timed it from the time he left to call the crew until they had me on the ground. It took twenty minutes. Now that was fast. And no one had any warning in advance.
T. J. McDaniel was the main rescuer and he asked me what in the world I was doing climbing that pine tree. Don’t know why but I answered him “Looking for Hickory Nuts”. That broke him up. Later T. J. gave me a good dressing down at a crew meeting saying I ruined his Sunday suit for the pine rosin on the pants he was wearing. That was a good crew of men we had then.
Joby Biggerstaff was in a class at the Legion building (the old colored school on the hill) and I had my brother Joe in the class. When the time came to teach and then practice artificial respiration the old way (applying pressure to the back of the rib cage) my bother Joe, in spite of repeated warnings to be careful, managed to break a rib for Jody. Only time it ever happened in my classes as far as I know. Only taught two classes out here, after coming to California.