Friday, April 17, 2015

Trucker and family pay in-person visit to thank firefighters who saved his life

Sometimes in life, you have to go the extra mile. Or in the case of trucker Norman “Cuz” Towell, an extra 550 or so miles.

Towell, 58, of Salisbury, N.C., made the trek from his home to Indianapolis with his wife and granddaughter on Saturday, April 11, to say thanks in person to a group of firefighters and first-responders who saved his life more than a year ago.

“I wanted to come here and say ‘I love you guys because you took time to try to help me,’” Towell told WTHR Channel 13 News in Indianapolis. “They could have took another job, another profession. But they chose to be firefighters. And they did a good job. They weren’t giving up till they got me out of that truck.”

The crash occurred on Oct. 13, 2013, when Towell was traveling eastbound on Interstate 74, near I-465. Another vehicle cut him off, forcing him to slam on his brakes in an attempt to avoid the traffic ahead of him. The braking caused his truck to roll over onto its side, leaving him pinned in the cab. It would take rescue workers approximately 90 minutes to free him from the wreckage.

Those first-responders told The Indianapolis Star that at the time, they weren’t sure Towell would survive the crash. He spent 16 days at a local hospital before being transferred back to a hospital in Charlotte, where he underwent 30 surgeries and the partial amputation of his left leg.

A father to seven children and grandpa to 12, Towell’s been in the trucking industry for 26 years. Despite losing his leg, he hopes to someday drive again.

The gesture of making an in-person thanks is an uncommon one, according to some of the firefighters who were interviewed.

“Every now and then you’ll get people bringing us cookies and trying to fatten us up,” said first-responder James Hutcheson. “But very seldom do we have someone walk in and say ‘Thank you for what you did.’”