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Roane County Sheriff honors 10-year-old girl for heroism

Chief Deputy Brian Hickman and Lt. Jeff Smith stand with Chelsea Romine, a 10-year-old girl who was recognized for her heroic actions by helping first responders find the remote location of where her grandparents were hurt following a utility task vehicle accident. (Photo Provided)

SPENCER — A 10-year-old girl was recognized by the Roane County Sheriff’s Department for her heroic actions to call for help when her grandparents were hurt in a utility task vehicle accident.

Chelsea Romine called law enforcement on Aug. 13 after her grandparents were in an accident while trying to feed their cattle that made them unable to move.

Romine’s grandmother gave her the phone and she went on top of a hill to get enough reception to call for help.

Their farm was in a remote location but Romine stayed calm and on the phone with the dispatchers until they were able to get to the location.

The farm was on a 300-acre piece of land that nobody in the Sheriff’s Department had ever been to before, according to Chief Deputy Brian Hickman.

While on the phone with the dispatchers, they played a game of “hot and cold” which involved the responders blaring their sirens and Romine saying whether the sounds were coming closer or going away from her.

From the time responders were dispatched, it took from 30 minutes to an hour to find the location, Hickman said.

“The time was crucial. It’s hard to tell how many hours before someone could get to her, that’s where her heroics came into place,” Hickman said.

Romine’s grandparents had to be life-flighted to Charleston and Hickman said it’s their understanding that the grandmother was released from the hospital but the grandfather was still being treated.

“It would have been grave for the grandparents and the length of time before somebody possibly could have found them,” Hickman said.

Members of Roane County Emergency Medical Services, the Spencer and Reedy Volunteer Fire Departments and Officer Phillip Devers from the Sheriff’s Department responded.

“It was a group effort by Roane County first responders,” Hickman said.

Last month, Romine was presented with a Hometown Hero award for “showcasing bravery and heroic actions in saving lives,” as printed on her certificate.

“It just warms our hearts that in the situation, it could have been a lot worse. It warms our heart that she, in her age, had enough poise and calmness to call and remain calm enough to stay on the line and give us directions,” Hickman said.

When Romine was presented with the award and a couple of gifts from the Sheriff’s Department, Hickman said she grinned from ear to ear.

“We explained it to her and we wanted to make sure she knew what she did and that the heroics she did potentially saved her grandparents’ lives,” he said.

Sheriff L.T. Cole agreed that Romine is a brave girl who acted appropriately in a scary situation.

“She displayed a lot of calmness and maturity well beyond her years. She was able to make the 911 call and get direct help in there the best she could. She’s a brave little girl, no doubt,” Cole said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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