YEAR IN REVIEW 2015: March
50 years later: Local man returns to Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge
For one local man, the 50th anniversary of the march across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma by a group of civil rights activists had a deep and personal meaning.
Fifty years ago, more than 600 unarmed men and women were assaulted by state troopers as they began to cross the famous bridge in Selma to draw attention to voting and other civil rights issues. Charles Dale of Russellville was there on that day and witnessed “Bloody Sunday,” as it is known. Dale was also there for the 50th anniversary
“I was 22 years old when we marched back in 1965,” Dale said. “Being there, at the foot of the bridge, and remembering back to the tragedy of that day 50 years ago – it filled me with a bad feeling. But to think of what it meant to me then and to my kids and their kids and the future – that filled me with hope, and that felt good.”
During the weekend Dale was recognized with the Trailblazer Award for Civil and Voting Rights involvement. One of his daughters was able to attend with him.
“For her to see where her daddy had been and for her to walk in my steps where we fought for rights back in 1965, that meant so much to me,” Dale said. “I was so proud that I couldn’t stop from crying. I didn’t even know I was crying until a teardrop ran down my face, but I wasn’t the only one in attendance who was crying.”
Russellville hotel robbed at knifepoint
A hotel located on U.S. 43 in Russellville was robbed early March 13 by a man armed with a knife, according to officials. The hotel was robbed by a man dressed in dark clothing, a bandana wrapped around his face and wielding a knife, according to officials. No one was injured as the man put the employee in a nearby room before leaving the premises.
According to Russellville police, the man entered the hotel, jumped over the front counter and took cash from the register. The man then put the employee working at the front desk into a room before leaving through a side door.
The robbery was caught on camera by the video recording on site.
Student’s injuries bring out her fighting side
For the Shaw family, January 24 was the day their life turned on a dime and a day they will never forget. That Saturday started like any other for freshman Savannah Shaw and her friend, also a freshman, Brooke Shewbart. Around 5 p.m. that afternoon, Savannah and Brooke decided to take a ride on the trails in the woods on an off-road vehicle. The ride turned tragic when they had a horrific wreck when Savannah lost control of the ranger. Savannah was thrown from the vehicle, and it flipped several times, eventually coming to a stop on her leg. Brooke was not thrown, and when the vehicle came to a stop she was hanging by her seatbelt at an almost upside-down angle.
The Vina Rescue Squad quickly responded and helped stabilize Savannah and direct the helicopter landing. The helicopter flew Savannah from Vina to Tupelo, Miss.
Savannah had suffered scalping, which is a condition where the skin on her head was pulled off her skull, a C-2 break in her neck, shifted C-6 and C-5 bones, broken left collarbone, four broken ribs, a punctured lung, a ruptured bladder, breaks to both pelvic bones, road rash over her entire body and an open tib-fib fracture, which means the bone was out of the skin. She underwent surgery that night on her leg and head to begin to repair some of the most immediate life-threatening injuries. She had additional surgery to repair the damage in her neck.
In total, Savannah had a neck brace she wore for 6-12 weeks, a boot she wore for eight weeks and 86 staples throughout her body. She also had a metal rod in her leg and a metal plate in her neck that will never be removed.
Savannah has shown that she is a fighter over and over again. There is no doubt this horrible accident is something she or her family will never forget, but it won’t be something that will permanently define Savannah’s future.