Thursday, September 18, 2008





Truck driver plucks drowning man from lake
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Kemp resident Harold Lambert was just returning back to Groom & Sons Hardware after completing a delivery Monday, when he saw a boat taking on water near the bridge crossing over to Tom Finley Park and the Causeway Marina.
“I said to Chad (Groom, with him at the time), ‘Do you see that boat? It looks like it’s sinking,” Lambert told The Monitor.
The small boat was on the north side of the bridge and about 300 yards from shore.
“Before we could even cross the bridge, the boat was under water, and people were in the water,” he said.
 He immediately called 9-1-1, but someone had just called it in, he said. It was around 11:30 a.m.
Lambert pulled down a side road and onto Jeffrey Circle in Gun Barrel City headed toward the shoreline.
“I saw someone swimming toward the bank. I ran up to the house (fronting the lake) and asked to go through their backyard. When I got there I called out, and asked if he was okay, did he have a life jacket on? ‘He said, ‘No. Help. I’m not going to make it,’” Lambert recounted.
“He had swum a pretty good distance too, but he was still about 100 yards away from the bank.
The water was real rough and choppy, Lambert reported.
“When I realized he wasn’t going to make it. I just did what anyone else would do,” he said.
He looked for a way to help.
Two houses down, Lambert spotted an old small paddle boat leaning against a fence.
“It only took me about five minutes to get the boat untied and into the water,” he said.
Lambert didn’t trust the small craft to hold his weight, so he swam it out toward the young man, talking to him all the while.
When he got out to him, the young man didn’t even have the strength to hold on to the paddle boat, Lambert said. So, he hefted him out of the water and onto the boat and swam the boat back to shore.
Lambert estimated the young man to be about 18 years old and weighing about 150 pounds.
“He was pretty cold, shivering as I got us both back to shore,” Lambert said. Three other people were still in the water buoyed up by the swamped craft.
“I reckon the young man attempted to swim to shore to get help for the others,” Lambert said.
During the rescue, Chad Groom was up on the street looking out for First Responders to direct them to those in the water.
An emergency team arrived shortly and got the rest of the people out of the water and back to shore.
Sometime after the rescue, a neighbor called The Monitor to report the incident. “I just think everyone should know we have a hero among us,” the caller said.
Lambert said, he never had any similar situation before, adding his sons, who attend Kemp Junior High and High School, were really excited when he told them about his day that evening.

Harold Lambert – local hero

Storm preparation leads to disaster
Monitor Staff Reports
EUSTACE–On Friday, many lake-area residents were making preparations for a storm to hit, practically the size of Texas.
Among them were Rene and Rusty Templeton, who live just outside Eustace off Farm-to-Market 316.
They have 14 acres with a wooded section close to the house.
Like many of us, the drought took a toll on their trees, and they decided it would be best to take down the ones in danger of falling on the house and doing damage, before the storm hit.
The cut was made; the tree was headed in the right direction. Rene was giving it a push while seated on a tractor.
“Everything seemed to be going right,” their friend Sharon Strickland told The Monitor.
But the falling tree glanced a standing tree and bounced back into Rene’s direction.
“She knew immediately that the blow had broken her back,” Strickland said. “She couldn’t feel her legs.”
Rene was transported to East Texas Medical Center-Tyler and underwent surgery to stabilize her spine.
If all goes well, she’ll remain in intensive care for a week and then be transferred to a regular hospital bed for another week. Her physicians will be watching for. the threat of infection and formation of blood clots.
Afterwards, comes the long road of rehabilitation.
A benefit breakfast is set for 7-9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at First Baptist Church in Eustace. Cost is $5 per person, but additional donations are welcome.

Churches host storm evacuees
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Damage from Hurricane Ike has been limited to the coastline of Texas, with little residual effect in Northeast Texas.
Cedar Creek Lake received a few evacuees from Port Arthur and Beaumount, some of whom are staying until power is restored to their locales.
They began arriving Friday, with the storm close on their heels.
About 50 evacuees took shelter at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank, set up as a Red Cross shelter, with another 20 or so at the Hillcrest Baptist Church in Kemp, from a sister congregation in the coastal area.
“Many, many people have shown their generosity and hospitality to the guest evacuees, and from all reports they are sincerely grateful for the kindness being shown and for the place to stay during this emergency,” Chamber of Commerce president Jo Ann Hanstrom said.
She reports some of them are spending their time fishing and visiting some of the local businesses, taking in a movie at Main Place Cinema, which donated some movie tickets, and First Baptist Church of Mabank provided some transportation for those in need of it.
The community responded to their needs by providing a supply of snacks, water and games. ColorTyme helped by setting up a large-screen TV at the church for their use, Hanstrom added.
The Red Cross shelter at Lakeview Assembly of God Church was set up Friday, but closed Sunday after no one found their way there.
It was reopen Monday at the request of county emergency management director David Holstein.
“We know there are displaced people out in the county, because they call for help. And maps have been given out. We’ll just have to see if they find their way here,” Red Cross director Mike Ferguson said.
The shelter can house up to 200 evacuees, and offers hot food and showers. It currently has 150 cots and 60 blankets. If more than 60 are needed, the shelter will be asking the community to help with more bedding, he added.

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