LAKE WYLIE — Katherine Gillis of Lake Wylie received EMT training in Santa Fe, N.M., in the ’80s, but it was not until she was in an accident on Hands Mill Highway years later that she decided to pursue that ambition.
“The River Hills EMS picked me up,” Gillis said. “They were so nice and so helpful. I thought to myself, I really need to be a part of this.”
And there is one lucky cat that is very glad she did.
Gillis, who volunteers with River Hills EMS, also works with Piedmont Medical Center EMS.
Gillis was standing outside a house fire in Rock Hill with the owner.
“He was in utter disbelief. He kept saying that everything he owned was inside the house over and over again,” Gillis recounted.
Then he said, “And, my cat. My cat is inside, too.”
“When I heard that, I started running around saying, ‘There’s a cat inside! There’s a cat inside!’” Gillis said.
A firefighter went inside and found the cat. He carried the cat’s seemingly lifeless body out to Gillis, who then put an oxygen mask over the feline. It took less than 10 minutes for the cat to come back to consciousness.
“We save all things,” said Gillis. “If you can help, you help. I am thrilled to have been able to help a little kitty.”
Robin Nugent of Lake Wylie has a special family connection. Her niece, Ali Nugent, is Miss Texas and will be in the Miss USA Pageant this year.
“Ali is so sweet and so shy, you would never believe she was into pageantry,” Nugent said.
Pageantry is a family thing for the Nugents. Many of the family members, including her mother and her aunt, have competed in pageants. And Robin was Miss Canada in the Miss Universe pageant.
“Ali uses her popularity to speak out on difficult social issues of today,” Nugent explained.
“She speaks on the effects of bullying and she also created an organization, Helping a Hero, which collects funds to build houses for wounded veterans.”
The Miss USA Pageant is broadcast from Las Vegas, and airs June 16 on NBC.
Wendy Dimitri of Lake Wylie is a freelancer writer. Email neighbors column ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.