Seven local first responders honored by city commission

Published 8:58 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Travis Thompson had only one thing to say to seven Winchester/Clark County emergency personnel community members.

“I am forever in their debt. That is all I can say to them. They are my heroes,” he said.

In front of a packed room Gregory S. Bell, Ethan Brogili, Courtney Harrison, Jason Keller, Kayla Lane, Kelly Smith, and Tyler Tays were presented certificates of commendation at Tuesday’s board of commissioners meeting for saving the life of Thompson’s 15-year-old daughter, Addison, last month.

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Thompson recounted the near-tragic events of March 6 for those in attendance.

He said that his family had gone to tend to their cattle along the section of their property that runs along Four Mile Creek, about two miles from the property’s entrance.
The weather that day was stormy and rainy.

“The rain was relentless. It was coming down hard. It was difficult to traverse,” Thompson said.

The torrential downpour had increased the creek and several of its tributaries’ currents.

When a newly born calf’s mother headed to cross the creek, Thompson knew the calf would try and fail to cross as well. So he jumped in the water 30 yards downstream to catch it.

Addison had the same idea.

“Addison jumped in front of me, catching the calf. I went to help her and grabbed the calf,” Thompson said.

After getting the calf to safety, Thompson heard his wife, Cenchrea, scream. What he turned around and saw is every parent’s worst nightmare.

“She was holding Addison all while holding something and fighting the flow of the water,” Thompson said.

The couple quickly got Addison’s lifeless body to the bank. Thompson started CPR while his wife dialed 911.

Background noise made it hard for the emergency dispatcher, Kayla Lane, to understand Cenchrea. Still, through it, all Thompson said that Lane performed her job by the book, dispatching the needed help and keeping him abreast of their estimated arrival time.

When emergency personnel arrived, Thompson said that Battalion Chiefs Gregory S. Bell and Jason Keller followed specific instructions he gave them without hesitation.
Firefighter Tyler Tays and paramedic Courtney Harrison also quickly rendered aid.

“I had exactly what I needed in that moment. I had experience. I had a paramedic, and I had muscle,” Thompson said.

The crew followed Thompson to wear Addison lay and took over the situation, even pushing Thompson’s side by side up a hill when it got stuck. Winchester police and Clark County Sheriff’s deputies ensured that key intersections were blocked off so that the ambulance could arrive at Clark Regional Medical Center as soon as possible.

Addison regained consciousness on the ride to the hospital. She was eventually transferred to UK’s Chandler Medical Center, where she made a full recovery and went home a few days later.

Thompson asked the commission for two things: to ensure that the commendations remained in the honored person’s file and to remember the importance of keeping qualified first responders in the community.

Thompson is a sergeant with the Winchester Police Department and was not surprised by his colleague’s courageous actions.

“It’s nothing new to me because I’ve been doing this for the better part of 12 years, and I know exactly how we are built and how we are driven,” he said and added, “It hits a little different when it is you that needs the help.”

Addison Thompson has been around area emergency services her entire life. Not only is her father a police officer, but her mother, Toni Clayton, is a lieutenant with the Winchester Fire Department.

She presented the honored parties with their certificate and a hug.

“I would like to say thank you even though they don’t get thanks a lot, but they are definitely thanked. I will always remember them and appreciate them,” Addison Thompson said.

She also wants the community to know this about its first responders.

“They really do care–not that they make any money–but they are not just doing it. They try that hard on every case,” she said.