Community Heroes: Big Stone Gap Army veteran and EMT continuing to serve community at 74 years old

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BIG STONE GAP, Va. (WJHL) This week, we introduce someone who makes our region a better place to live. we call them Community Heroes.

This week, we take you to Big Stone Gap to introduce you to EMT technician, Donald Sturgill.

“I was drafted in 1967,” Army veteran, Donald Sturgill said.

As Donald Sturgill, now 74 years old, looks back on his time in the Army he remembers one thing:

“I used to make the comment all the time that the Army will make a man out of you. Well, it don’t. It gives you the opportunity to make what you want of yourself,” the veteran said.

Just one year after tying the knot with his wife, Sue in 1966, Sturgill was sent to Vietnam.

Sturgill said, “I {came} back home. Stayed out for about 6 and a half years then I joined the National Guard.”

When he returned, he was met with one of the biggest scares of his life.

“When I came back from Desert Storm, I had a mole on my back. They took it off and it was fourth stage melanoma,” he said.

Sturgill said, by the grace of God, he was able to be healed without having any kind of treatments.

“Went to church, I was prayed for. God healed me. I never had no type of treatments. No chemo, no nothing. God healed me and I’m still here today doing fine.”

Since then, he has continued to serve his community, as an EMT for the big stone gap rescue squad.

“The State of Virginia never had anything to do with IV’s techs. Me and a couple more got with the doctors and stuff, so they got with the state and they setup a class, the state approved it. I was one of the first ones in this area to become an IV technician,” he said.

His goal is to assist those in need.

“A lot of times when you go help a little old man or a little old woman, and when they say, ‘Thank you,’ that means a whole lot. When you do something that because of that, they’re still around,” Sturgill said.

He is willing to drop everything to serve his community of Big Stone Gap, even in the middle of his interview with Pheben Kassahun.

Sturgill said, “I gotta go. We got a bad car wreck and I gotta go on it, okay…”

And that is why he’s our community hero.

If you know someone who makes our community a better place to live, we want to hear from you! Nominate them to be an ABC Tri-Cities Community Hero! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to nominate them.

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