Members of the Mooresville Fire-Rescue Swiftwater Team who worked to rescue residents of the Hiddenite Family Campground during flash flooding last fall were recognized for their life-saving efforts on Monday evening.

Swiftwater Team members who deployed to the campground in the early morning hours of November 20 found the 30-acre site covered in nine to 10 feet feet of rapidly moving water. Campers and RVs were swamped and/or floating away from the campsite in rising waters.

Team members carried all of their equipment, including their 250-pound boats, approximately 100 yards from the road, put them in the floodwaters and began working quickly to pull the flooding victims from inside their RVs, atop their campers and from trees. Several of the residents were elderly and had underlying health conditions.

“In the darkness you could hear people crying out for help,” Battalion Chief Rob Colvert said during the awards presentation at Monday’s Mooresville town board meeting.

The rescue work involved navigating swift currents, avoiding debris and checking the RVs and vehicles for flooding victims. More than 30 people were evacuated, including the dozen that Culvert described as being saved.

Swiftwater Team members worked until dark, wading in water and mud up to their waists after the flooding began to subside, in search of survivors. They also helped recover the bodies of the five people who lost their lives.

After considering their efforts and the department’s guidelines for honoring its personnel, Mooresville Fire-Rescue presented the following awards during Monday’s meeting:

Certificate of Commendation

♦ Capt. Chris Thompson
♦ Capt. Justin Christie
♦ Engineer Nicky James
♦ Engineer Ryan Stutts
♦ Firefighter Ethan Blackwelder
♦ Firefighter John Holly

Medal of Merit

♦ Senior Firefighter Sam Allen
♦ Senior Firefighter Marc Baker

Medal of Valor

♦ Engineer Joel Privette
♦ Firefighter Eric Keller

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