Friday, August 21, 2015

MLGW workers rescue man from pit bull attack

(left to right: Argentia Applewhite, Gerald Applewhite, Mark Love (in back) and Greg Willey)

Normally the guys who cut off utilities are the last ones you want see pull up in front of your home.
Homeowners Gerald Applewhite and his wife, Argentia, are the exceptions. Mr. Applewhite considers Customer Service Account Investigators Greg Willey and Mark Love his guardian angels. If it had not been for Willey and Love, Ms. Applewhite said her husband could have been killed. One of the couple’s five pit bulls attacked Mr. Applewhite as he was spraying flea ointment on their dog, Blue.
          When Willey and Love drove by the couple’s home in Southeast Memphis on July 29, they saw a man leaning over a dog. The dog shook its head back and forth tugging and pulling an object in its mouth.
           “We thought they were playing. It looked like the man had something in his hand. But what it was the dog had – him. Then we saw a lot of blood on the guy’s white shirt and down his arm,” Willey said.
When Willey stopped the vehicle, they could hear the man yelling for help. Love called 911 at 11:04 a.m. They ran toward the chain-link fenced in yard but the gate was locked. Applewhite was 10 to 12 feet away from the fence’s perimeter. The dog continued his relentless attack biting his owner’s hands and arms. When Applewhite freed one hand or arm, the dog grabbed the other.
“We told him to bring the dog as close as he could to the fence and turn his face away,” Willey said. Applewhite pulled the dog toward the fence. Both Willey and Love sprayed the dog with mace. But Willey said, “It didn’t bother the dog at all.”
About that time, Applewhite’s wife opened the front door to their home. “We were telling her to get back in the house,” Love said. He ran back to the MLGW truck and found a two-foot cheater pipe used to loosen bolts that are hard to remove with a ratchet or wrench alone. Love handed the pipe to Applewhite. “He busted the dog across the temple,” Love said. “The dog finally let go of him and ran off.”
Added Willey, “That gave him enough of a chance. He jumped into the back of his pickup truck to get away from his dog.”
By the time the crisis had passed, the Memphis Police, animal control and paramedics arrived at 11:34 a.m. Applewhite received 17 stitches on his arms. The dog was captured and later euthanized.
          Both men downplayed their actions. “We stopped and did whatever we could,” Willey said. Love agreed. “We did what we had to do,” he added.
          During the MLGW Board of Commissioners meeting on Aug. 19, the board recognized Love and Willey’s efforts for going above and beyond with a MLGW Hero award. Sammy Davis and Tommy Dixon also were recognized as heroes.
         The Applewhites, along with their two-year-old grandson Keith Browley, attended the presentation. After the ceremony, Mrs. Applewhite added, “It’s nice what y’all did. That’s what they are – heroes.”

Two-year-old Keith Browley gently holds his grandfather's scarred hands still healing from where the family's pit bull attacked him. Little Keith was at Gerald and Argentia Applewhite's home when the pit bull attacked his grandfather outside.

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