As a general rule, when an individual sees a building on fire, they immediately call 911, and wait for help to arrive.
In the case of the fire that engulfed the Jerry Holder Builders building October 11 on Rt. 66 at Snowshoe, Dennis “Denny” Wamsley did more than make a call.
Wamsley, who works as a maintenance technician at the Inn at Snowshoe, jumped into action when he saw the flames and he was able to help a family who was staying at the Holder building to safely escape the fire.
To honor Wamsley for his bravery and swift action, Snowshoe Mountain Resort held a special ceremony last Friday where he was award-ed a plaque and gifts of appreciation.
“It sounds like you kind of jumped into action and ran over to what was happening, and helped save a family – which was pretty impactful for us here at Snowshoe,” resort president and COO Patti Duncan said to Wamsley. “It was pretty emotional, and the family themselves just can’t get over what you did.”
Wamsley, who has been employed at Snowshoe for 22 years, modestly described his actions, and said he wished he could have done more for the family.
“I saw it was on fire, and I thought I’d go down and help and see if I could do anything,” he said. “That’s about it. The good Lord just put me in the right place at the right time. That’s what I can say about it. You do what saved a lot of their stuff. I wish I could have stayed up there, but I just wanted to get the family out. That’s what mattered to me.”
“This is what our family, our Unify Team is about – actions like that,” Duncan said. “We didn’t want it to go unnoticed, and we appreciate it. You also inspired the community to rally around [the family] with clothing and food. You inspired that in everyone else.”
Also attending the ceremony were fellow employees from the Inn and Shavers Fork Fire and Rescue. Its chief, Randy Wilfong, thanked Wamsley on behalf of the department.
“We look for people every day that are willing to run toward danger, and they’re hard to come by,” he said. “Very hard to come by. You did an awesome thing, and it’s not a small thing. Without your assistance, that could have turned out a whole lot worse.”
Speaking on behalf of the Inn, Executive Housekeeper Jason Mallow added that Wamsley is the kind of man who goes above and beyond the job every day and thanked him again for all that he does at the Inn and for Snowshoe.
“It’s not just the single fire incident, but it’s in his everyday life,” Mallow said. “It’s ingrained in Denny. I can’t show you enough how appreciative I am of you and all that you’ve done in all the years I’ve been down there. You definitely bring characteristics of our values out in all of us every day in your actions and your helpfulness and your words of wisdom.
“It’s very much appreciated.”