City Council honors hero

Published 7:02 am Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Bainbridge City Council has honored a city employee who saved a coworker’s life this past December.

At the council’s Tuesday meeting, city officials presented Marty Cawvey with both a resolution honoring his act of heroism and a plaque designating him as the city’s employee of the quarter.

Cawvey, 45, an operator at the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Cox Avenue, had arrived to work early on Dec. 3, according to the resolution. A coworker, R.W. McDowell was hosing down the plant’s final settling tank when he slipped and fell on a patch of ice that had formed on a metal grate. McDowell fell into the 18-feet deep tank—full of wastewater—and plunged to the bottom, City Manager Chris Hobby said.

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Cawvey, who was working nearby, saw water shooting up into the air by the tank, ran to investigate and saw McDowell—who had just resurfaced—struggling to hold himself above the water. Cawvey leaned down over the tank and managed to use one arm to hold his coworker up while at the same time, he called 911 on his cell phone.

Cawvey held onto the 66-year-old McDowell until help could arrive, an action which surely prevented his coworker from drowning, Hobby said.

“It is an act of Providence that things happened the way they did,” Hobby said. “The sides of the tank are steep and slick. There would have been no way [for McDowell] to pull himself up if Marty hadn’t been there.”