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A 78-year-old Cairo woman, who is still nursing her wounds suffered in the March 3 tornado that struck here, did not bat an eye when invited to attend a surprise award presentation for a city police officer last Thursday night.
Kathryn Corker said she was delighted to receive a call from Yvonne Childs inviting her to attend the meeting of the local Woodmen Life Chapter 580 last week. Childs’ grandson, Cairo Police officer A.J. Childs, was to be recognized for his valor and for coming to Corker’s aid the night of the storm.
“Mr. A.J. Childs saved my life! He heard me calling for help. I couldn’t get out the house and he heard me. If it wasn’t for Officer A.J. Childs, I wouldn’t be here,” Corker said at the Woodmen banquet.
In introducing Officer Childs, Woodmen’s local lodge president Barbara Jones said, “A neighbor is someone in need. This person reached out to a friend and a neighbor. It was part of his job, but he reached out with his hands and his heart. A.J. Childs heard that call. If he had not been there, this lady would have bled to death.”
In honor of his heroism and valor, Jones said the local Woodmen lodge was presenting Officer Childs with its Lifesaver Award. “We thank you for your service and for what you do,” President Jones said.
Corker agreed and said, “They cleared the way for him to get me to the hospital. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It’s wonderful to know that we have folks to look after us.”
After Childs had been presented the Woodmen honor, Corker retrieved an envelope from her purse and presented it to the city policeman. “This is a token of love from my heart. You’re my angel. Thank you so much,” she said and the two embraced.
Corker’s home on Second Street S.W. was destroyed in the storm and she endured a serious gash to her right leg as her home pulled apart in the high winds.
Corker says she was in the kitchen when she heard the wind blowing rocks into her windows and the city’s emergency siren ring out. “I heard the noise, and tried to make it to the bathroom, but the lights went out and I went to the floor,” Corker says. When she looked up, instead of her ceiling, she saw the sky.
Knowing she was injured and trapped, Corker says she made it to a window and began yelling for help.
Cairo Police Officer A.J. Childs had just finished his shift when the tornado struck around 8 p.m. Like so many other first responders, he rushed to the scene of the destruction.
Childs used his first aid kit to apply a pressure bandage to Corker’s leg, and then he wound his way to Grady General Hospital and left her with an ER nurse before returning to help others.
The storm victim remains under the care of Dr. Mark Hudson and is required to wear a pump to drain fluid from the wound on her leg.
Joining Officer Childs at the ceremony were his grandparents Annie Laura Owens, and Yvonne and Elwyn Childs; his parents Debbie and Russell Childs; his wife Candace; and his two children Cady and Andy.
The Woodmen also had as their guests the American Legion Honor Guard which conducted a flag retirement ceremony. Special guests included cadets with the Cairo High School NJROTC who joined with Woodmen and guests to observe the formal ceremony and proper disposal of flags that are worn, torn, and discolored.