HERO Day will bring together public, those in the line of service

By Michael Howlett

April 18, 2014

On May 3, Carroll County will host HERO (Hearts Empowered to Rescue Others) Day, an event designed to celebrate everyday heroes, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS technicians.

The scheduled activities will not only provide a day of camaraderie and competition, but provide members of the community with the opportunity to learn about the extensive training required of those who may one day save their life. The event is free and the competition is open to everyone.

Amanda Bourne, assistant director of tourism/visitor center manager, said the event grew out of the EMS Olympics held locally in 2011 and 2012.

“We just didn’t feel that the EMS Olympics was really reaching its maximum potential. I think we can make it into something much greater,” said Bourne. “There’s really nothing like this in a four- to five-hour drive radius of us.”

In addition to various competitions, there will be demonstrations, exhibitions, vendors, training, and motivational and support speakers.

The competition starts at 7:30 a.m. with a double-elimination softball tournament that will be limited to the first eight teams that enter. Then at 8 a.m., the 5K Hero Challenge Run gets underway. The run will feature various obstacles along the way that will have participants climbing, jumping, crawling and testing their balance, in addition to their stamina.

“The run is truly a challenge,” said Bourne. “It’s won’t be timed. It’s not about who finishes first, it’s about who can complete the course.”

Other competitive events, which run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., include the Dispatcher Call Challenge, the K9 Drug Dog Challenge, the K9 Attack Dog Challenge, the Firefighter Agility Course, and the Law Enforcement Obstacle Course, as well as scenarios in which firefighters and EMS technicians demonstrate their skills in a competitive demonstration.

“A lot of people don’t relate to how much work goes on when they make a 9-1-1 call. These events will show them how much training is involved,” said Bourne. “The Youth Cadet Program is setting up booths to instruct how to correspond with a 911 operator.”

There will also be booths dealing with how to recognize a stroke and how to perform CPR.

An AirCare helicopter out of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and a neonatal ambulance from Brennen’s Children Hospital will on hand for tours by the public, and officers from the Virginia State Police will repel out of a helicopter.

The Carroll County Recreation and Tourism Department and the Carroll County Fire/Rescue are partnering with Twin County Regional 911, the Hillsville Fire Department and rescue squads from Pipers Gap, Cana, Laurel Fork, Laurel and Dugspur on the event.

Anyone seeking more information should call 276-730-3100 or 276-730-3007, or visit or

All events will take place at 231 Farmers Market Drive in Hillsville.

Michael Howlett can be contacted at 276-728-7311 or on Twitter@MikeEHowlett