‘Tim’s a part of us’: Pike County first responder in a coma as volunteers rally in his corner

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 24, 2021 at 11:07 AM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The Shelby Creek Rescue Squad and its neighboring Dorton Volunteer Fire Department gathered together Friday to honor a man who always rallies for them.

Tim Stiltner was in a crash earlier this month and has been hospitalized at Pikeville Medical Center since that day.

A faithful firefighter and rescue worker, Stiltner’s volunteer family says he is always there when you call and always has a smile.

“And he’s a big part of this community. Everybody loves him. Everybody talks about him,” said Donna Handshoe, rescue squad president.

When they got the call earlier this month that he was involved in a motorcycle crash, the department came together in prayer waiting for news.

“It devastated us. We actually didn’t think he was going to make it,” said Handshoe. “It was hard. And it was more hard because we couldn’t go there. Because, due to Covid, they wouldn’t let us in there. We just have to sit and wait.”

Weeks later, they said Stiltner was is still in a coma. On Friday, he was transferred to a facility in Tennessee for further treatment.

”Tim is there. He’s always there for us. And I know if it was one of our other members, he would be here today,” said Betty Long, rescue squad captain.

So Stiltner’s community came together to parade him through the next leg of his journey.

“For us to come together and let Tim know and his family know that we are here for them. You know, they’re a part of our community. Tim’s a part of us,” said Long.

His volunteer family is just anxious to see him back by their sides.

“It’s almost as good as seeing him. Not quite, but almost as good as seeing him because at least we get to know that he’s going to another place that he can get better,” said Handshoe.

A benefit car wash and bake sale will be held at the Dorton Fire Department and Shelby Creek Rescue Squad on May 1 to help the family offset medical expenses.

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