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3 come to rescue of fellow man

Gayla Smith and Cynthia Stewart had no idea that anything was wrong on the morning of June 12.

They had just arrived at Regions Bank for work and were walking to the door until they saw some commotion behind the bushes in front of the business.

When they heard Hartselle Utilities worker Luke Smith call out for help, their plans quickly changed.

“We literally dropped everything and ran to go help,” said Gayla Smith, a teller at Regions.

That quick action by all three helped save the life of a man who had been trapped underwater by a riding lawnmower.

“I tell Luke that he’s my hero and he’s really the one that deserves the credit,” Stewart said. “All we did was try to help him and get more help.”

It didn’t matter that the women were dressed in business attire for work that day. They knew they had to help.

“Gayla literally jumped in the creek there to help,” Stewart said. “We all three helped Luke lift it up enough so he could get a breath until more help arrived.”

“I didn’t realize that creek was so deep until we went back out there,” Gayla said. “He was literally trapped underwater.”


The two women also enlisted the help of other bystanders and customers who were on the scene. They were able to lift the lawnmower off of the victim.

“He was OK other than just being covered in mud,” Gayla said. “He didn’t even have to go to the hospital. It’s just a miracle.”

Because of getting in the creek, Gayla and Stewart may have ruined their work clothes that day.

“Gayla was actually covered in mud after getting in the creek,” Stewart said. “After it was over, I didn’t realize just how far down he fell. It was probably about 12 feet, but it only felt like it was just a couple of feet down.”

However, the three were just glad that they could do their part to save a life.

“If Hartselle Utilities didn’t happen to be there that morning, no one would have seen him. You couldn’t have seen it from the road,” Stewart said. “That man could have died if it wasn’t for Luke seeing it happen.”