Lauderdale County cash crunchPublished 11:09pm Sunday, August 29, 2004
BURNING HOUSE – The American Red Cross and Nursing Spectrum has recognized Mary Evans of Hickory for her heroic actions to save the lives of her great-nieces and nephews. Evans rescued them when their home caught on fire Jan. 31. Evans and nine other nurse heroes from across the United States will be honored Sept. 13 during a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
August 27, 2004
HICKORY It was a chilly January morning when Shaleta Wash walked next door to her aunt's house to borrow eggs. She knew Mary Evans would have some and she needed to cook breakfast for her four children. Before she could return, an explosion caused her house to go up in flames.
Evans will never forget what happened next.
Evans rescued 2-year-old Marcus Wash, and his sisters, J'Marya, 3, and Katey, 7. Five-year-old Jamien, however, was not as lucky. Evans could not find Jamien because he was not hiding under the bed with his brother and sisters. "They said he wouldn't get under the bed because he was scared of the dust bunnies," Evans said.
Evans' heroic actions earned her the American Red Cross and Nursing Spectrum Nurse Hero Award. On Sept. 13, she will fly to Washington, D.C., where she will be honored by Vice President Dick Chaney or Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Penni Speed, a nurse at South Mississippi HomeCare and Hospice, nominated Evans for the award which is presented to 10 nurse heroes nationwide who have saved or attempted to save a life under adverse conditions.
Evans said she didn't think twice about jumping into a burning house to save her great-nieces and nephews. She told her son to spray her with the garden hose each time she returned from the house with one of the children in her arms.
Evans said she could hear the children screaming for help, but she could not see them because the smoke was too thick. She said it is a miracle that she got the children out alive, especially since the oldest daughter, Katey, is legally blind.
Evans only recently returned to work after having orthoscopic surgery on her knee, which was injured during the fire.