2016 Volunteer of the Year
Chief Chaplain Clint Cottrell is the 2016 Volunteer of the Year for his efforts to assist a crash victim on Interstate 75.
While driving back to Fort Myers with his wife from Atlanta, Chaplain Cottrell witnessed a northbound vehicle on Interstate 75 lose control, roll and plummet into the water and weeds in the median. The vehicle was rendered invisible from the road.
Chaplain Cottrell was the first one on scene, and his wife called 9-1-1. Chaplain Cottrell without regard for his own safety entered the water to assess the situation. He learned the car had rolled up onto its wheels, breaking all of the windows. The sole occupant, a woman in her 50s, incurred only minor injuries, and fortunately the water was only up to her waist in the car. Chaplain Cottrell provided minimal first aid and turned off the car. He controlled the scene until help arrived.
The first law enforcement officer on the scene was a Fort Myers Police Officer on her way to work. Chaplain Cottrell let the officer and responding Charlotte County deputies know who he was and that there was no need for them to enter the water, as he was already drenched. Chaplain Cottrell stayed until the fire department extricated the driver and the deputy writing the crash report released him.
Chaplain Cottrell’s energy in growing our chaplain program and dedication to the community is an inspiration.