Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 25

seconds," Kurtis says. "The truck
Try as he might, Kurtis could not
was engulfed shortly thereafter."
break the glass with his hammer.
Kurtis says that he and his coHe kept the fire at bay as long as
workers are encouraged to lend a
he could with his fire extinguisher,
helping hand when they are out in
but at some point it was beyond
their communities, especially the
his control. Panic was beginning to
rural areas cooperatives tend to
overtake all three men, including
serve the most.
Leslie who was starting to become
"We're part of the community,"
more alert.
he says. "We're always around,
"My guy in front with me was
going up and down these roads
telling me what was going on and it
that not a lot of people drive on. If
just kind of hit me. From the inside
there's a vehicle on some of these
of the cab there wasn't anything
rural roads, it's usually either the
we could do. I squeezed that door
landowner or the co-op."
handle so tight, my muscles are
Kurtis said the extensive trainstill tired today," Leslie says one
ing cooperative employees receive
week after the accident.
photo courtesy Southwest Camden County Fire Protection District
played a big role in rescuing the
"I had to try something differmen. "My instincts and training just kicked in," he says.
ent," Kurtis says. "I couldn't just stand there as the fire got
"I'm trained just like the lineworkers. We have fire extinworse."
guisher training in our office. That wasn't the first time I
Working from the window down, Kurtis used his hampulled the pin on one of those.
mer to beat back the part of the truck jamming the door
"It probably only lasted two minutes or so, but it sure
little by little, giving himself enough leverage to use the
felt longer," he says. "I'm just thankful for how it worked
claw of the hammer to try and pry it open. As he worked
out. God put me in the right place and gave me the right
down the door, the men inside were pushing to unlatch it.
tools to do the best I could. I couldn't have done that by
"The smoke was getting worse and worse," he says. "At
myself."
that point both the passenger and driver were beating on
Leslie unequivocally credits Kurtis for him and his cothe door."
worker surviving that day.
Eventually Kurtis' quick thinking paid off as the door
was able to be forced open and the men escaped just
"Kurtis is a hero. No two ways about it," he says. "He
before the truck was fully covered in flame. First respondacted in a hero's fashion. He just got out of his truck and
ers arrived shortly after. "I really believe it was a matter of
started doing stuff. Incredible. He saved two lives that day."

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Rural Missouri - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 7
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 8
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 9
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 10
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 11
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Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 14
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Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 18
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Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 25
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 26
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 27
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 28
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 29
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 30
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 31
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 32
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 33
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 34
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 35
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 36
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 37
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 38
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Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 40
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 41
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 42
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 43
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 44
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Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 46
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 47
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 48
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 49
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 50
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - July 2020 - Cover4
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