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Paramedic/state trooper honored for saving life

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KSP fetes Whitworth for saving man who was hanging in tree

By Lisa King

An act of unselfish heroism has not gone unrecognized for a Shelbyville paramedic who made the difference between life and death for another man last year.

Shelbyville resident Eddie Whitworth, a part-time paramedic at Shelby County EMS and also a Kentucky State Trooper assigned to Post 12, on May 12 received the Lifesaving Medal at KSP’s annual Officer Awards banquet in at the Capitol Plaza in Frankfort.

KSP was recognizing officers in many categories, including trooper of the year, and citations for bravery, safe driving, meritorious achievement and detective of the year.

Even though he was awarded the medal from KSP, Whitworth actually was performing a dual role, as a police officer and paramedic. the night he saved a man’s life last fall at Elmo Head Park on 3rd Street in Shelbyville.

“A guy called 911, and said he was going to kill himself,” Whitworth said.

He said dispatchers were able to trace the call from the man’s cell phone and pinpointed it roughly in the area of the park.

“I just happened to be sitting in my car at the new courthouse doing paperwork, and I heard the call go out,” he said.

Whitworth said he and some Shelbyville Police officers responded to the call, and when they arrived at the park, Whitworth was the one who spotted the man.

“I actually found him hanging in a tree,” he said. “I picked him up and held him up until we could get him cut down. Another thirty seconds, and he would have been dead, but he ended up being fine.”

Whitworth said he later learned that the man had been facing some criminal charges out of Jefferson County that he thought would cause his probation to be revoked, and he could not face going to jail and being separated from his children.

Whitworth is no stranger to awards for outstanding work in law enforcement, having received KSP awards two years in a row for making the most DUI arrests of any trooper in the state.

Whitworth has been a Shelbyville resident since 1998. He has been with KSP for four years and has been a part-time paramedic at Shelby County EMS since 1998.

Shelby County EMS Director Todd Early said he was not surprised to find out what Whitworth had done.

“That’s just like Eddie,” he said. “He is truly dedicated to helping people.”

Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger, who also has an EMS background and is also a part-time paramedic, said practically the same thing about Whitworth’s heroics.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that Eddie would initiate that type of response, because he is so willing to give of his time in order to help others, and I think that just kind of epitomizes what Eddie is all about,” he said. ”He continues to give back to the community whether he is on duty or off duty. It really doesn’t make a different to him, he is just that dedicated to helping people. It really symbolizes his dedication to the community.”