McClatchy Washington Bureau
A longtime first responder known as a pillar of his small Eastern Kentucky community died Sunday of COVID-19.
Carter Conley was the captain of the Magoffin County Rescue Squad and was also a member of the Middle Creek Volunteer Fire Department. Loved ones said he “took emergency medical services to his heart.”
Conley spent around four weeks at Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center in Paintsville, where he was moved to the ICU Sept. 6, according to his sister. He was placed on a ventilator Friday, two days before he died of the virus.
“All who knew him can say they knew a man that would never say no, (would) give you the last penny in his pocket and if the problem was that you had to walk for help, Carter Conley would walk that last mile right beside you,” his sister, Conni Akers., posted on Facebook
He spent decades as a member of the community’s emergency services organizations, according to Magoffin County Judge Executive Matt Wireman.
The Magoffin County Sheriff Department said Conley “worked tirelessly on behalf of all of our citizens.”
“He had a vision and he turned his vision into reality… a reality that benefited us all” the department’s Facebook post said. “We will miss his dedication. We will miss his presence. We will miss him. We have lost one of our own…we have lost one of our best.”
His longtime neighbor, Sam Miller, recalled the sound of Conley’s siren going off countless times to mark another rescue mission. He said Conley was “a man dedicated to the welfare of his beloved Magoffin Countians.”
“Magoffin County has assuredly lost a giant of the community,” Miller added in a tribute post on social media.
Another loved one said he never met anyone in his life who cared for their community like Conley.
“Carter was a man that you could definitely say would give you the shirt off his back,” Darvin Marsillett said on Facebook. “Carter has invited me and any other law enforcement officer into his home more than once and fed us no matter the time day or night. I honestly can’t ever remember an accident scene that I’ve ever worked in Magoffin county that Carter wasn’t there.
“Carter was definitely the perfect definition of a good man,” Marsillett added.
There have been more than 8,000 people die of COVID-19 in Kentucky, including 18 in Magoffin County, the state’s health department reported.
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