New Castle Manor honors First Responders

Pam Dudding Burch
Contributing writer

Photos by Pam Dudding-Burch
Front row: Lucy Greenway, Gloria Hutchison, Ella Jean Wade,
2nd row: Margaret Stevens, Elizabeth Cole (Betty Lou), Brenda Straul, Brenda Abbott, Seth Bowman
3rd row: Allen Arthur, Heather Mathaney, Kaylen Crush, Morgan Murray, Darrel Humphreys, Brent Crush, Bill Hunnicut
4th row: Clyde Hancock, Robert Resick, Nathan Arthur, Jeff Bryant, Trevor Craddock, Kenny Davis. (others attended but not pictured)

With plenty of “thank you’s” to go around, the residents of the New Castle Manor welcomed the First Responders of Craig County with open arms and appreciative hugs. On Tuesday, June 27, at 11 a.m., The Manor opened their doors wide to show their appreciation to the First Responders for their quick response to their call earlier this year, when an apartment caught fire.

First Responders on duty brought their vehicles so they could respond at a moments notice for Craig County if needed.

The parking lot filled fast with First Responders from Craig County for their cookout. “We’re so happy that so many of them were able to come,” several residents said.

As they entered the doors of the New Castle Manor Community Center, Members from the EMS, Rescue Squad, Fire Department and Police Department were overwhelmed with the atmosphere of appreciation and honor they were served with. “This is so unexpected and so very nice of you all,” several Responders shared.

“We just want to thank them because they came so fast after they were called,” several residents shared. “We are so blessed to live in our little town because we know how much people really do care.”

The First Responders were treated to a cookout with all the home cooked fixins’. “This is like eating at Grandma’s house,” one exclaimed. Others nodded their heads and tried to smile, still unable as they were truly enjoying their meal.

Bill Hunnicut, Resident Manager, presented Brent Crush with a donation check as a humble token of The Manor’s gratitude. “This is to show our appreciation for you going above and beyond the call of duty,” Hunnicut shared. Hunnicut has been with the company for 12 years, and served the residents of The Manor for seven.

One evening in January, a fire started behind a stove in one of the apartments. The resident came out and contacted his neighbor who quickly called the fire department. “They got here in just a few minutes,” several residents shared. “We couldn’t believe how fast they came and got the fire contained!” The one apartment was completely destroyed, but only minimal damage was done to the neighboring apartments. It was mostly smoke damage.

However, Craig’s best didn’t stop at just putting out the fire, directing traffic and checking the physical needs of everyone that night. “They made sure that every resident that wasn’t able to go back into their apartment had a place to go,” residents shared. “They stayed for hours.”

Residents cooked an array of foods and desserts for the First Responders of Craig County, as a thank you for their quick response to the first in January.

“What a wonderful job they did for our residents!” Hunnicut shared. “They really stepped up as they give us the true feeling of ‘community.’” Hunnicut also explained that the following day Fire Chief Brent Crush gave him a list of where every resident was and a phone number where he could contact them. “That was above and beyond what I would have expected!” Hunnicut exclaimed. “All of the responders made certain that everyone was taken care of for their immediate needs.”

Many shared that an ambulance stayed for quite a while and continued to make sure everyone was truly taken care of, as well as the pets the residents had. Hunnicut added, “They are our heroes every day and a part of our community and we are very grateful to have them here.”

Serv-Pro from Roanoke is completing the final stages before residents can move in. “They did the clean up and the demolition of the burned unit but are not doing the reconstruction,” Hunnicut said.

All of the connecting apartments were cleaned and fixed and residents were able to re-enter their homes, except for one resident. “The construction of the damaged apartment is almost complete and the apartment should be ready for occupancy very soon,” Hunnicut shared.

With bellies full and laughter abundant, it seemed no one wanted to leave. David Stebar, Maintenance Director, had been the grill chef for the day and asked the residents, “They are all going to be here tomorrow to help me clean that grill, right?” as he walked away smiling.

“We feel this was a successful in showing our First Responders that we care and noticed how diligently they are attentive to their jobs,” Hunnicut said. “They deserve it because they are our heroes every day somewhere.”

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