Officers honored for life saving actions

Fetching Featured
Fannin County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, EMA, EMS, First Responders, Fire Department, Paramedics, Narcan, Life Saving, Overdose, Corporal Dustin Carter, Investigator Gary Edwards

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Two officers with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department were honored for their quick thinking that resulted in a life being saved.

A call came through dispatch of a single vehicle accident on Highway 2 near Flowers Baking Company. A silver Ford Focus driven by Michael Peppers of Blue Ridge had left the roadway and struck a tree.

Fannin County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, EMA, EMS, First Responders, Fire Department, Paramedics, Narcan, Life Saving, Overdose, Corporal Dustin Carter, Investigator Gary Edwards

(L – R) Investigator Gary Edwards, Corporal Dustin Carter

Corporal Dustin Carter and Investigator Gary Edwards were first to respond to the scene and saw that the male driver was alone and trapped in the vehicle.

“The door panel was crushed from striking the tree,” Investigator Edwards spoke of the scene upon arrival. 

The door was unable to be opened and both officers saw the condition of Peppers deteriorating.

“He was slightly responsive. He was losing color and as we were speaking to him, his condition worsened and he just went out, non-responsive, lost all of his color,” Edwards recounted the quickness in which Peppers’ condition worsened.

Accident reports from that day detail how Peppers’ skin color began to become grayish in hue as his eyes rolled back and his breathing came to almost a complete stop.

“He was on the verge of completely not breathing. He was having agonal respirations,” Fannin County EMA Director Robert Graham spoke of Carter and Edwards’ actions and explained that agonal respirations is a gasping for air that is associated with body reflex and is seen in medical emergencies.

Investigator Edwards and Corporal Carter worked together to free Peppers from the vehicle, Edwards having to break out the back window to gain access. It was at this point that Carter recognized the signs of a possible overdose and Edwards retrieved his supply of Narcan.

Narcan is a nasal spray used for the treatment of an opioid emergency or a possible opioid overdose with signs of breathing problems.

Upon returning, Edwards reported that Carter was able to free Peppers from the vehicle and had him laying down on the ground. Edwards administered the nasal Narcan and Peppers began to breathe and move again.

When paramedics arrived, both officers helped to load Peppers onto the stretcher and observed that he was talking to paramedics as they left the scene.

“Seeing his reactions. From the time we got there, he was kind of responsive to unresponsive in just a few minutes,” Carter explained the decision to use Narcan. Carter says that training and experience are how he was able to quickly recognize the signs of a possible overdose.

The officers were given pins of recognition by Fannin County’s Emergency Management Team to acknowledge that their quick thinking and actions were directly responsible for saving a life.




If you’re enjoying the Sunday Edition, then consider becoming a contributor with your own articles. If you have an article that needs highlighting send it to [email protected] to become a part of our growing community of feature news.

Colorful face masks protect healthcare professionals from coronavirus

Fetching Featured

BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Healthcare workers serve as the frontline of defense against COVID-19, and many work without proper protection due to supply shortages. Several professional and amateur seamstresses across the nation have answered the call to create cloth face masks for healthcare workers and those in need.

One such individual resides in Blue Ridge, Ga, Tina Rice of Tina’s Tie-Dye Store. Rice essentially turned her office into a production line to sew as many free face masks as possible for nurses, doctors, first responders, elderly, and high-risk individuals.

As of April 9, 601 tie-dye masks have shipped from her production room, and hundreds more still to be made.

When asked why sew face masks, she said, “My daughter, niece, and nephew are nurses, and they were telling me about the supply shortages in hospitals… I thought I can make masks.”

And so, she began on this journey of giving back at a time when the country needs it. Rice posted her sewing availability on Facebook, and it started to snowball from there. She has made face masks predominately for people she knows or customers, but new individuals have asked for her creations as well. Her masks go all over the country.

Rice ships masks all over the country.

As far as the tie-dye element, Rice said this about her business, “I loved color, and I grew up in San Francisco. I started in 1973 and fell in love with the process. It’s something I could do with four small kids at home.”

Her love of color and helping others, not only protects nurses, doctors, and first responders but brings joy to those stuck inside hospitals or nursing homes.

Sewing for 10 hours a day, Rice likes to make her tie-dye masks in batches of 6 to 12 to keep the process flowing. From start to finish, it takes her around 25 minutes to create the final product. The sewing portion requires about 10 minutes of the process. Rice’s husband also helps out to keep production moving along.

Thus far, Rice has received “lots and lots and lots of thanks and pictures” from nurses. In her conversations with healthcare workers, Rice relayed that some of them only have her mask as protection against airborne infection.

One nurse wrote on Tina’s Tie Dye Facebook page, “Thank you so much for caring and taking the time to make this beautiful tie-dye mask for me. It’s greatly appreciated!”

Cloth face masks don’t prevent the majority of particles from reaching the face like N-95 respirators or surgical masks, but estimates report the fabric is 50 percent effective.

Her face mask pattern comes from Deaconness Hospital, and she said that many sewers across the country have based their designs on this one. The design doesn’t include the filtration pocket. Some of her mask recipients have expressed concern over the glass in the filters.

Place masks in a garment bag can extend its life.

However, she will take requests for alterations to designs and keeps other templates on hand.

The masks include two separate pieces of fabric on the inside Rice uses a tightly woven flannel so it’s softer against the skin and the outside is a tightly woven cotton.

She adds the ears have been a case of trial and error to find the best fit for those wearing masks for extended amounts of time. She started with elastic, but then nurses provided feedback that they would rather have ties for comfort. Now, she uses cut-up knit shirts, which roll and are soft around the ears.

Additionally, Rice tweaks the design, so it fits over a variety of face sizes, both male and female.

According to the CDC, cloth face masks limit public exposure to COVID-19 by wearing them in public places where it’s difficult to maintain six feet of distance – such as grocery stores and pharmacies. However, everyone should still maintain the CDC and Federal guidelines to slow the spread.

Recently, Rice started taking a couple of masks with her to grocery stores and offering them to the elderly and employees. She’s received mixed responses from shoppers and employees. Some are grateful, but others decline her offer.

Masks need to fit securely over the nose and mouth. Wearers should also wash it whenever returning home from a trip into the community. Also, children under two should not wear a mask as it might inhibit their ability to breathe normally.

The CDC asks the public to ensure the mask:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape

Those interested can donate to Rice’s cause online. She has accepted some “very generous” donations from individuals in the community and “doesn’t expect to evert charge people for [her masks.]”

Individuals can order online ordering for masks or any of Tina’s Tie-Dye products.

As for her hope for the community, once the pandemic ends, Rice stated, “I hope that people look around and see the beauty of humanity.”

She is just one of the thousands tirelessly working to protect as many people as possible using their unique talents. In a world where many people believe they are more divided than ever, perhaps the silver lining of this crisis is discovering that comradery many people had lost.

Rice wearing one of her creations.

We live in a great county with good people,” affirmed Rice, and she’s right. Whether it’s through colorful face masks, food delivery to children in need and the elderly, or just calling to check on the neighbor down the street, American’s are demonstrating every day the best this county has to offer.

A helping-hand gets sanitized amid health concerns

Fetching Featured

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – Many have taken time in the recent weeks to say a special thank you to law-enforcement and emergency workers who are still at risk and cannot always maintain a “social distance” during their work.

Laura Thomas and Green Willow Soap donate hand sanitizer to the Ellijay Police Department.

Laura Thomas and Green Willow Soap donate hand sanitizer to the Ellijay Police Department.

This week saw another highlight in the community as two business owners stepped up to not only say thank you to those in service, but to provide a real need for them.

Laura Thomas is the owner and founder of Green Willow Soap in Ellijay. Her and her staff have been working hard this week to provide hand sanitizer to the public safety agencies in Gilmer. In fact, Gilmer Fire & Rescue, Ellijay Police, Ellijay Fire, East Ellijay Police, and the Gilmer Sheriff’s Office have all received hand sanitizer for their agents.

Thomas said, “All of the First Responders have received hand sanitizer to help them through their difficult jobs. GOD Bless them and protect them as they serve the people of Gilmer County.”

Laura Thomas and Green Willow Soap donate hand sanitizer to the East Ellijay Police Department.

Laura Thomas and Green Willow Soap donate hand sanitizer to the East Ellijay Police Department.

Heads of these agencies told FYN that the donation has answered a need as they have had difficulties purchasing and providing enough sanitizer during shortages. Creating and supplying the donation, Thomas said “My ladies have been working so hard to make this happen for our community.”

Gilmer County Fire & Rescue has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our private citizens, as well as our local business leaders.  On Wednesday 4/1/2020 Green Willow Soap generously donated around 100 bottles of individual hand sanitizers for each of our fire and rescue crew members.  This donation of hand sanitizer will greatly assist with our mission of keeping our hands clean when soap and water may not be readily available at the conclusion of a 911 call.  We greatly appreciate them thinking of us during a time when anti-bacterial supplies are in short demand and hard to obtain.”

Danny Postell and Huff's Drugs donate hand sanitizer to the Gilmer Sheriff's Office.

Danny Postell and Huff’s Drugs donate hand sanitizer to the Gilmer Sheriff’s Office.

But Green Willow Soap is not the only business answering this need. Gilmer Sheriff Stacy Nicholson said that earlier this month, around March 20, Danny Postell and Huff’s Drugs donated handmade hand sanitizer as well.

Sheriff Nicholson stated, “These generous donations of hand sanitizer have been huge in respect to our deputies’ safety.   We have had a hard time buying it because of the high demand.  But Huffs and Green Willow came through not only with the “product” but provided it in a manner that we could give individual bottles to deputies to keep with them.  The donation from both was very much appreciated.”

Kauffman noted another donation for Gilmer Fire & Rescue saying, “We would also like to thank The Majestic Bee Bakery for dropping off boxes of individually wrapped cookies.  While it is a small gesture of kindness, the smiles from the crews are huge and show how much they appreciate these care packages.”

Laura Thomas and Green Willow Soap donate hand sanitizer to the Gilmer Fire Rescue.

Laura Thomas and Green Willow Soap donate hand sanitizer to the Gilmer Fire & Rescue.

In addition to local businesses donating, Kauffman said they have had private citizens show their support in many ways.  Some of the items that have been donated to Gilmer County Fire Rescue include; N-95 face masks, surgical face masks, homemade face mask, gift cards, and baked goods.  Nicholson also pointed to several donations, the Sheriff’s office have added thank you notes to their social media for donations from Pizza King and Mindy K’s Bakery.

Gilmer’s public safety professionals have said they are very appreciative of our local citizens and businesses thinking of them and supporting them during this crisis.

Back to Top