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
“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
“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
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
“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
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
“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.