Richmond 911 employee receives ‘Heroism Award’ for attempting to save a life while off duty

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond 911 employee received a “Heroism Award” for trying to save the life of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle while off duty.

Tasharnda Gainey stopped to help a man struck by a car on July 24, after driving near the scene of the crash on Jefferson Davis Highway in Chesterfield.

“I have a medical background. If I see somebody in need, I have to stop,” Gainey, an emergency communications officer with the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications since 2008, said.

Because of her willingness to render aid, even when not on the job, the department presented Gainey with its first Heroism Award on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

“Tasharnda’s actions exemplify our employees’ passion for helping others, both on-duty and off-duty,” said Stephen Willoughby, director of the department.

Gainey called 911 in Chesterfield and reported a pedestrian struck. She continued CPR until emergency crews arrived. Gainey said that she tried to save the man’s life. Sadly, the man did not survive the accident.

“It was something I felt like I had to do,” she said in response to why she stopped to administer first aid to a complete stranger. “Not something like, ‘oh I’m just gonna jump in and just do this because….’ I felt like I had to, there was no way I could just have kept going, knowing there was nobody there.”

It wasn’t the first time Gainey sprung into action to help a citizen. In 2002, Gainey stopped to help at the scene of crash near the intersection of interstates 295 and 64 in Henrico County. She ended up being summoned to testify as a state witness in a court case in which a person was convicted of vehicular manslaughter.

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