by Jesse Leavenworth
MANCHESTER — Friends, coworkers and teammates are rallying in support of Carolyn Edwards, a beloved emergency medical technician who was badly hurt in a recent motorcycle accident.
“The reason everybody descended on this is that she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” Ambulance Service of Manchester spokesman Dave Skoczulek said Thursday. “I’ve never heard her say a negative thing. She’s one of those people who’s always laughing, positive, upbeat. When this happened, it made a mess out of everybody and they came together as fast as they could.”
Edwards, 36, of Manchester, was driving her motorcycle on East Center Street on the morning of May 6 when she collided with a car at the Vernon Street intersection, police have said. She was treated for head and arm injuries in the intensive care unit at Hartford Hospital, but was recently transferred to a rehabilitation facility.
Along with ASM, other organizations raising money to support Edwards’ family and help pay her medical bills include sports teams she belongs to, including the Hartford Wild Roses Women’s Rugby Team. The team is selling t-shirts with “#Carolynstrong” printed on the back. To purchase a t-shirt or a #carolynstrong bracelet, visit http://www.carolynstrong.org.
ASM employees also have been raising money through “cold water challenges,” which involve immersion in swimming pools and other chilly bodies of water. The company’s president and CEO, Wayne Wright, recently took part in one such challenge (see the video at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carolynstrong/1447016028872363).
Edwards, who was born in New York City, moved with her family to Manchester as a young girl and graduated from Manchester High School, ASM paramedic Kenya Russell said. Edwards, who is single and has no children, has been working for ASM for about five years. Russell said the two were frequent partners.
“She is consistently kind all the time, no matter what the scenario is,” Russell said. “We have stressful scenarios, but she’s always smiling.”
“She was like that as a little kid,” Edwards’ uncle, Doug Edwards, said.
Little by little, Edwards said, his niece’s condition is improving. Her great physical shape before the accident and the many friends she has made are helping, he said..
“Between her physical stamina and her relationships with people, I think that’s really the thing that makes her recovery go well,” Edwards said.
When Carolyn Edwards regains her health, friends plan to convert the fundraising organization they started after the accident into a standing foundation to benefit all emergency medical service workers in the state who face similar crises, Russell said.