Hometown Heroes | Derick Wolfe and Josh Gilliam

MSW trash collectors save woman's life
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 7:41 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Days before Christmas, two trash collectors were on their morning route in Cabell County, when they felt something was wrong.

Barbara Hensley had come back from grocery shopping that Tuesday night, when she fell on her concrete porch.

“After I fell I couldn’t get up,” Hensley said. “I got so cold I don’t remember it.”

She laid there all night in temperatures below 20 degrees, until Derick Wolfe and Josh Gilliam with Mountain State Waste arrived to collect her trash Wednesday morning.

“We just pulled up that day, and me and him discussed, and I said there’s something wrong,” Gilliam said.

Wolfe noticed her trash had not been put out, so he glanced over the fence and saw her laying on the porch, bleeding.

“She was purple and she was froze to death,” Wolfe said.

Gilliam called 911 as they wrapped her in blankets waiting for EMS to arrive.

“You two guys were absolutely godsends in my life, and I’m so thankful that you stopped that morning to find me,” Hensley said.

Hensley spent one week in the hospital and two weeks in skilled nursing. She’s now home with nurses who come and assist her each day.

“If I had been out there a little bit longer, then I would die. I woulda died,” Hensley said.

After she got back on her feet, she wanted to do something special for the men who saved her life.

“I can’t pay you enough, I can’t say enough, I can’t do anything. I can just thank you. and I’d give you a big hug and a smooch if I could,” Hensley said.

She presented them with the Hometown Hero award, as she says they will always be heroes to her.

“I didn’t know that it meant so much to her. I mean, obviously saving her life meant a lot, but her going forth and calling y’all and getting this done that was amazing. I really appreciate it,” Wolfe said.

For Gilliam and Wolfe, they are thankful they were at the right place at the right time.

“To me I didn’t need the award. It’s just a normal day. I saved a life and that was good,” Gilliam said.

For Hensley, it means even more. She had just switched to Mountain State Waste weeks before she fell. Her old trash company picked up on Tuesdays, meaning no one would have found her.

“If my brother hadn’t had called this company, and if they hadn’t come on a Wednesday, then probably would have been coming to my funeral,” Hensley said.

Hensley says it was important to her to make Gilliam and Wolfe WSAZ Hometown Heroes, so everyone knows what they did for her.

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