Flintville’s Chris Hopkins, a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2167 here, received the national VFW Life Saver Award in February for his quick response in saving the life of friend and fellow VFW member Greg Dodson last June.

Ceremonies, hosted by the state VFW in Murfreesboro, also saw members of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and Lincoln Health System’s Ambulance Service presented with Meritorious Service Awards for their actions in response to the call for help. Receiving those awards were deputies Karly Warren, Sam Smiley and Troy Wells of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and paramedics Linford Miller and Luke Lovelady of the LHS Ambulance Service.

It was June 26, 2018, when Greg was working on a truck at his Park City home when the vehicle fell off its jack, pinning him underneath with life-threatening injuries. Greg was in the process of putting jack stands under the truck when the accident happened.

“Chris was there at the time and got the truck off of me,” said Greg, explaining that his good friend repositioned the jack, quickly raising it off of him.

Within minutes, the deputies arrived on the scene, followed immediately by paramedics. Calling for Vanderbilt’s LifeFlight, they transported Greg to the Fayetteville Municipal Airport where they would meet the helicopter. Greg was flown to Vanderbilt Trauma Center where he would remain for the next week. He had sustained a shattered clavicle, 10 broken ribs and a punctured lung.

“I have no doubt that they saved my life that day,” he said just after the awards ceremony two weeks ago, noting that the LifeFlight team with Vanderbilt was also awarded Meritorious Service Awards by the VFW for their response. “I can’t begin to thank Chris and the local responders enough, because I know I wouldn’t be here were it not for them.”

The past eight months have been tough on Greg and his wife, who the week before Christmas sustained a displaced spiral fracture just above the knee, requiring surgery, skilled rehab and continued therapy. Then in January, he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

So it was good to have a chance to thank his rescuers during the recent ceremony in Murfreesboro, he said – “I’ll always count my blessings and be thankful that I’m here.”

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