Principal Teresa Rose

The title may be slightly different, but a familiar face greeted students on the first day of class Monday at Kernersville Elementary School (KES). That’s because newly named Principal Teresa Rose has been embracing and encouraging students at the local school for nearly a decade.
Rose was named principal of the West Mountain Street elementary school following the announcement that her predecessor, Lora Tiano, would be retiring at the end of this past school year. Rose served as an assistant principal at KES for eight years. Her first day as principal was July 1.
Rose said she is excited to be able to continue at KES.
“I’m really excited and grateful to be able to continue to lead in this place that I love so much and want everyone in Kernersville to know that KES will continue to be the same great community school that it traditionally has been known to be,” Rose said. “We will continue to welcome the blessings of our many community partnerships and be dedicated to offering a quality education to our Wildcats while also providing them a loving, supportive environment where they can feel cared for and safe.”
Rose also noted that another familiar face at the school has a new, important position.
“We are fortunate to add a familiar face as our new assistant principal, Malinda Kerns. Not only is she a wonderful person, but she is a very capable and experienced administrator. She previously was a part-time assistant principal at KES where she showed us how capable and caring she is as a leader. We are thrilled to have her back home,” Rose said. “I also want everyone to know that I will always be available with a listening ear to stakeholders in our community that have a vested passion and interest in making sure KES remains an exceptional school.”
Rose grew up on a farm in Argyle, Texas, where “my Granny taught me to work hard, treat people with kindness, show grace and wake up each day with a grateful heart,” she said. “All of my family still lives in Texas and I go back to visit whenever I can.”
A first generation college graduate, Rose earned her bachelor of arts degree from Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas and obtained certifications in EC, elementary education and secondary math. More than a decade later, Rose received her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG).
According to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS), Rose taught math and science in Lewisville, Texas for 10 years. She began her career with WS/FCS in 2008 as a math and science teacher at Philo Magnet Academy. Before coming to KES, Rose was the curriculum coordinator at Forest Park Elementary and in 2013, she was selected by WS/FCS to participate in the Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy where she earned her master’s degree.
Why did Rose decide to go into teaching?
“I have always loved working with children. When my children were very young, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in teaching,” Rose said. “It is hard work to be a mom, go to school and continue working, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I always encourage adults that it is never too late to follow their dreams and pursue a career that will bring fulfillment.”
Rose said she discovered a new passion for working with students who were struggling due to barriers that life had put in their paths while teaching sixth grade math and science at Philo. It is one of the experiences that eventually led her into administration.
“I found that it was a strength of mine to break down the barriers such as poverty and environmental instability so that students could achieve academic success and have a positive school experience. After four years, my heart’s desire was drawing me to leadership so that I could impact a larger number of students. I wanted to help other teachers have the same impact on student growth as I was seeing,” Rose said.
Rose continued.
“I became a curriculum coordinator at Forest Park Elementary and with the encouragement of my principal, Constance Hash, I applied for the Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy through UNCG. I was selected to participate in this amazing leadership internship by WS/FCS. This was an incredible opportunity to be trained by numerous outstanding educational leaders from all over North Carolina while completing a one-year long principal’s internship at Kernersville Elementary,” Rose said.
“I knew right away that I had found my home at KES. Once my internship was completed, I was hired as the assistant principal and I consider it a great gift to have served in that capacity for eight years. The strong community ties and support in Kernersville reminds me of the feeling that I had in the community where I began my educational career in Texas.”
What does Rose love about education? What does she enjoy about working in administration?
“The reason education fills my heart with so much joy is because it is a field where adults are completely dedicated to a higher purpose with a mission that is focused on helping grow children into kind, productive, happy citizens that will then give back to their communities. My teacher hat is always close by because the feeling of wanting to plant seeds in our most precious treasures in order to make our world a better place is forever imprinted on my soul. I can’t even begin to imagine myself not working with children,” Rose said. “One of the things I enjoy most about being an administrator is the gratification I get out of supporting the teachers, families and other adults that are working to give our children everything they need to be successful at school and in life.
“I also enjoy creating systems and processes that I know will help our school be highly functional. I especially love the big hugs that our little Wildcats often give me as we pass in the halls, along with a big smile and a high five. My prayer each morning is that I inspire adults to be a champion for kids, create an environment at KES that nurtures and supports all stakeholders and that I make a significant positive impact on the lives of the children in my school. This is also how I determine if I was successful when I lay my head down at night.”
How would Rose describe her style as a leader?
“I consider myself a part of a greater team where no one of us is greater than all of us together. It is important to me that I listen to all perspectives and value the input of others. I believe in making decisions that always puts the students’ needs first and considers the well-being of the child’s heart as much as their mind,” Rose said. “I hold myself to a commitment to always have respectful interactions and maintain a contagious calm no matter how others are engaging. I believe it is my job to stay positive, energetic, level-headed and steadfast towards the greater mission of leading and supporting everyone to reach our goals, no matter what the circumstance.”
Rose said she is grateful for how the community supports KES.
“I love how KES is a community school that is rich with traditions. Our school would not be able to function and have the success it achieves if it weren’t for the community partners and volunteers that are dedicated to supporting our students, families and staff. I have truly never seen a village as supportive and loving as the Kernersville community,” Rose said. “The staff is a huge reason for my love for KES and for the success of our school. We historically are known for achieving excellent growth based on data, but even more importantly this champion staff is dedicated and passionate about loving each child and ensuring that their hearts and minds are growing. They are family to me and to each other in a way that is hard to explain unless you actually experience it. Last, but far from least, it is my sweet little Wildcats and their families that entrust these most precious treasures with us.”
Rose and her husband, Steve, and daughter, Andee, moved to Kernersville in 2008. Today, Andee and her husband, Trey, live in Kernersville with their children, Maleiya, 14, Bristol Kelly, 4, and Saint, 9 months. Rose also has a son, Mike, who lives in Cadillac, Michigan with his wife, Alison, and children, Dulcie, 11, and Rowan, 8.
Rose said Steve is very supportive and the pair love to travel, “whether it is in our camper or traveling abroad. We are often seen kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking or biking with our little dog Meli somewhere beautiful.”
“I try to take the path North to this part of my heart as much as possible when we’re not traveling to Texas to see family or to Hawaii to visit my husband’s family,” Rose said.
Rose also loves spending time with her grandchildren, and they with her.
“They love to spend time with their ‘BahNana’ whenever possible. Bristol will be a little Wildcat in kindergarten next year,” Rose shared.

School security

School officially starts for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School (WS/FCS) system students on Monday, and many efforts have been made to make schools safer and more secure for everyone.
On Tuesday, the media was invited to East Forsyth High School to see and hear about the changes in school safety protocol and practices for the upcoming year. WS/FCS Chief Security Officer Jonathan Wilson, East Forsyth Principal Rusty Hall and others were at the press conference and informed the media.
One change this school year is the adoption of a Standard Response Protocol. Under “hold,” students will stay in the classroom and it will be business as usual. Under “secure,” there is something potentially dangerous outside and all students will come into the school. Under “lockdown,” obviously, the entire school is locked down. The final stages of the Standard Response Protocol are “shelter” and “evacuate.” The goal of the Standard Response Protocol is to have everyone, from students, teachers and first responders, use the same terms for any incident to prevent any confusion.
Hall noted that in past years when there was a potentially dangerous situation at a school, there was some confusion.
“The term ‘community lockdown’ is confusing because all people hear is ‘lockdown.’ Having set terms and protocol is less frightening for parents,” said Hall.
On Aug. 11, district administrators and first responders came together for an all-day training session on the Standard Response Protocol led by the “I Love U Guys” Foundation. John-Michael Keyes, the executive director of the foundation, led the training session. The “I Love U Guys” Foundation was started in 2006 by Ellen and John-Michael Keyes following a school shooting at Platte Canyon High School in Colorado that took the life of their daughter, Emily. On that day, Emily sent two text messages – one to her mother, Ellen, “I love u guys. K” and one to her father, John-Michael, “I love you guys.”
Due to a federal safety grant, all WS/FCS high schools and middle schools will have two Garrett metal detectors.
“We got this brand because they are on casters, so we can move them around. If a school has a large event, two metal detectors might not be sufficient enough. For example, on Friday, East Forsyth used the ones from East Forsyth Middle School for the football game,” Wilson said.
It was explained that the metal detectors will be used primarily for events at a given school or if there is a verified threat at a school.
When needed, WS/FCS high schools and middle schools will also have access pads to buildings this year and more high-tech cameras.
Wilson noted that different schools have different safety and security issues.
“At a school like Reagan, you would not need keypads if the entries are locked like they are supposed to be. We have to trust students on their own campus. It is their school and their second home. East Forsyth and West Forsyth are very unique compared to the other schools in the district that are all in one building,” Wilson said. “The cameras we got from the 2016 school bond only had one angle. The technology has improved and now, at a place like East where you have a quad, the camera has four angles.”
For events at schools this school year, the approved bags people can have are clear plastic or vinyl bags, one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags, small clutch bags, bags for medically necessary items and diaper bags. All of these containers are subject to being searched. Some of the prohibited bags include purses larger than a clutch bag, briefcases, back packs, fanny packs, cinch drawstring bags, luggage of any kind and computer/camera bags.
WS/FCS has also formed a Safety and Security Department. Wilson is the chief safety, security and emergency management officer. The team has a director of security that oversees student resource officers (SROs), night security, traffic control and event security. There are two campus security managers. One will cover the north and east of the county and the other will cover south and west of the county. Their job will be to assist with planning and campus assessment. The director of security technology will oversee all school security technology. There is also a safety and emergency management coordinator who will gather information to help keep the schools more safe and secure.
For Hall, the importance of school safety cannot be overestimated.
“I and my entire staff love your children as if they were our children. We are not making rules up out of the blue, and it is important for students and parents to know why we are making them,” said Hall. “The No. 1 thing that helps the safety of a campus is relationships with the children. When you have a standard policy, it flows automatically and the more it becomes second nature. No two days at a school are the same at a high school and you never know what might happen.”
Teachers at East Forsyth and other schools are being trained this week on the Standard Response Protocol and the new security practices. WS/FCS students will be trained on all of this when they come to school next week.

KMC topping off ceremony

A topping off ceremony was held for the Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center (KMC) expansion project on Thursday morning.
Those in attendance got to sign the final steel beam for the new fourth floor of KMC. The steel beam, which had a small tree and an American flag on it, was then raised to the fourth floor by the 262-foot-long, 137-foot-high crane, put into place and then welded into place.
This is all part of Novant Health KMC’s 60,000 square foot expansion project, estimated to cost about $55 million. Novant Health KMC is constructing a fourth-floor birthing center. The expansion project will also include the addition of medical beds and an expanded intensive care unit and the installation of a new heart and vascular lab. When the medical facility was first constructed in 2011, future expansion was very much in mind. Currently, it is a 50-bed hospital. The current expansion will add 33 more beds, and the facility could easily accommodate 100 beds or more.
Kirsten Royster, president and chief operating officer of KMC, spoke to those in attendance and thanked everyone who has been a part of what KMC is, and what it is becoming.
“Some of you have supported this vision of ours for over a decade. This is our new journey. We are adding new medical beds and an advanced intensive care unit that is larger. The heart and vascular lab is well underway on the first floor and should open in spring of next year,” Royster said. “The fourth-floor new birthing center will provide maternity services. We have designed the space, so it is patient, family, guest and team member centric, and I think you will really love it. To put it simply, this is about expanding a very special community medical center. It is about dedication to providing everything from acute and advance care services to maternity services. It is about a comforting healing and state-of-the-art environment, and it is about our team members who constantly give their hearts and souls to this place.”
Wes Altman, senior project manager for Christman/DA Everett, explained the origins and symbolism of the topping off ceremony to those in attendance.
“Topping off a facility doesn’t mean the project is completed. It has since come to mean the structure of the project is completed. You can’t miss the flag or the tree on the steel beam that you signed today and they are both symbolic. It is reminiscent of an old-fashioned barn raising celebration they had back in older times,” Altman said. “The tree conveys different meanings. It allegedly traces all the way back to old Scandinavian mythology. The religious rite was to place the tree on top of the new structure to appease the tree dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. Others saw the tree as a symbol of good luck and prosperity for future occupants of the building. Now, it celebrates the completion of the building structure.
“The flag was an expression of pride by the construction workers and is a symbol the construction framework is completed. It also supplies a message to the building owners that the construction has advanced to a point for the people in the area and that Novant is moving upward and preparing to serve the community. Placing the final piece of steel at the top is representative really of a mountaineer planting a flag, reaching the top pinnacle and claiming the rewards of being the first to reach the top and claim ownership for the flag the country belongs to.”
After Altman spoke, KMC Chaplain Andrea Edwards led everyone in attendance in prayer.
The anticipated completion date for the expansion is late 2023. The Christman Company is the general contractor, and McCulloch England Associates Architects is the architect.
The current services offered at Novant Health KMC include breast health, cancer, diabetes, emergency, heart and vascular, imaging, infusion, inpatient, laboratory, neurology, orthopedics and sports medicine, spiritual care, rehabilitation, respiratory, stroke and mini-stroke, surgery, women’s health, women’s heart and wound care.
Novant Health is a three-state integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient facilities and hospitals that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to our communities. The Novant Health network consists of more than 1,800 physicians and over 35,000 employees that provide care at more than 800 locations, including 15 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics.

Classic car enthusiasts

Kernersville’s Kevin and Crystal Tanner are two of the many proud members of the Old Salem Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) who will be at the Downtown Kernersville Classic Car Cruise-in on Saturday.
For the Tanners, there are a lot of reasons why they enjoy cruise-ins and car shows.
“As far as taking vehicles to car shows, everyone enjoys having something that draws attention or something to be proud of. Whether it is bought or built, they are proud of their vehicle,” Kevin said. “A lot of the people that go to the shows have like interests. Throughout the years, you establish some friendships with people. There are a lot of people at the shows that are not huge car enthusiasts, but one thing I hear all the time at the shows is, ‘my grandfather had one of these’ or ‘my mom had one of these.’”
He continued.
“People who aren’t members will remember their mom, dad, grandfather, grandmother, uncles and aunts had cars like these. With the children, they just enjoy the shiny cars and chrome and all of that,” Kevin said.
The Tanners own three classic cars, the oldest of which is a modified 1925 Ford Model T.
“I bought the car as an abandoned project. I had a couple of extra dollars so I decided to buy a car. It took about eight months to finish it and I have had it since 2015. It has a 1967 327 small block Chevy engine. The numbers indicate it is probably out of a Camaro, and I updated the brake system,” said Kevin. “The 1925 is just stupid cool. With it being an abandoned project, it was really cheap. I had the mechanical ability to fix 95 percent of it myself. It all started for me when I was a teenager. I was a mechanical type person and I liked old cars.
“Back then, they weren’t really old cars. I just learned on my own and I have made jokes about it before. There is a reason why I am somewhat knowledgeable about cars. I had to buy junk, and I had to work on them to get them to work.”
The 1925 Model T, which originally only had 40 horsepower, is sometimes on display, but not nearly as often as the other vehicles.
“I have only put 77 miles on it since its completion. It sits in an enclosed trailer. If there is a good place to park it, sometimes we take it out,” Tanner said. “Very seldom do we take all three cars to a show or cruise-in.”
The Tanners also have a 1974 Chevy Nova and a 1977 Ford F100 Pick Up.
“The 1974 Chevy Nova has a small block V8 in it. It is a 380 Stroker engine. It was a 350 and stroked. The computer shows 450 horsepower. We finished it in 2018. We updated the transmission. It has a newer model five speed transmission and that helps with gas mileage, and we put in factory air conditioning,” said Kevin. “Sometimes, we take the Nova to shows and Crystal will drive the truck. It is an old model truck, and the old 70 model truck is what my grandfather had. The old 1977 Ford F100 has all the original motor, transmission, rear end and brakes. The biggest thing was putting in new suspension, new interior and a bright, shiny paint job.”
Crystal Tanner, a human resources officer for the Town of Kernersville, also thoroughly enjoys classic cars and going to the shows, as does their 17-month-old grandson, Kody.
“He (Kody) does not have the appreciation for it yet, but he enjoys the shiny colors and being outside,” Kevin said.
Kevin and Crystal Tanner have three boys. The oldest is Jet Tanner, the middle son is Wesley Gray and the youngest is Christian Gray.

Skate World

Metal work on the exterior of the Skate World roller skating rink building appears to be the cause of a major fire at the longtime Kernersville business on Sunday, July 31, with fire officials saying the blaze was sparked accidentally and unintentionally.
“The fire started in the front area of the building where they were doing some work on the exterior,” said Kernersville Assistant Fire Marshal Austin Flynt on Monday morning. “Damage was pretty extensive to the interior of the building.”
Flynt said the Kernersville Fire Rescue Department (KFRD) received the first call about a commercial building fire at the 1995 West Mountain Street location at the Hopkins Road intersection at 12:24 p.m., when a passerby noticed smoke coming from the roof of the Skate World building.
According to Flynt, the first KFRD engine arrived within a couple minutes to find a working fire on site.
Not long after, the fire was brought to a second alarm incident, adding multiple agencies to assist, Flynt continued. He noted that all personnel who were on site at the time of the incident successfully evacuated.
Fire crews promptly began fire suppression measures, bringing the fire under control at 2:18 p.m. There were no reported injuries to emergency services personnel or civilians, Flynt said.
Flynt said damage to the interior of the building was extensive, with most of the flames confined inside. He estimated that 60 percent of the inside of the popular roller skating rink was destroyed by fire. Damage has been estimated at $250,000, Flynt said.
Kernersville residents posted photos and comments about the fire on social media throughout the afternoon and evening on Sunday. Hundreds expressed their sadness at seeing such an iconic local business, which was established by the late Robert Blakely in 1972, suffer such damage. Blakely’s family has operated the business for the past decade, noted son Michael Blakely’s obituary last October.
The younger Blakely’s widow, Lisa, posted a message on behalf of her and the couple’s son, Brandon, on the Skate World page on Facebook Sunday night.
“I figured you all were waiting to hear from me …. as you all have heard Skate World caught on fire today. It was a phone call that you never expect or want to get. My heart is broken all over again. First the devastation of losing the love of my life, now this. The thing I hear him saying in my ear, is Lisa, it’s just a material thing, that you’re blessed no one was hurt, so be grateful for that and that, I am. No one was in the building at the time and no fire fighter was injured and for that I thank GOD,” Lisa Blakely wrote. “This place holds such dear memories for me and Michael as we met there 40 years ago and to work the rink together with our son Brandon over the past several years, special times. I know this place means as much to you, the kids we [who] skate and all the community. This place is a LANDMARK!”
She continued.
“There was extensive damage done to the inside of the building. For now we are going to let the Fire Marshal and the Insurance Adjuster do their jobs. We will be closed for a while as it will take a lot of work to get all the renovations done and back open. I ask that you please follow us on Face Book and watch for more details and updates. I will keep you informed. If you hear it straight from me, then you know it’s true and not a rumor.
“I want to personally thank all the Kernersville Rescue and Fire Fighters that worked so hard today through the heat and smoke. You did a GREAT JOB!! Also to my FAMILY for their love and support and YOU my extended family, the SKATE WORLD FAMILY. WE WILL BE BACK. MY Love to you all and GOD BLESS.”
Flynt said there were a total of 64 firefighters and emergency services personnel and 24 emergency apparatus on scene throughout the incident.
Agencies assisting the KFRD included the Forsyth County Fire Department, Piney Grove Fire and Rescue, Winston-Salem Fire Department, Walkertown Fire Department, Beeson Crossroads Fire Department, Kernersville Police Department, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Forsyth County Emergency Medical Services.
For more photos, see page 6.

National Championship

A dance team from ExtravaDance & Tumble in Kernersville recently claimed a National Championship and the dance studio itself also raised $20,000 for the fight against cancer.
On July 2-7, dance teams from ExtravaDance & Tumble competed in the Kids Artistic Revue National Dance Competition in Pigeon Forge, TN.
“We had dance teams in every division and routines for dancers of every age. We placed in every division and the 8-and-under team won a national title,” said Erica Summerlin, ExtravaDance &Tumble director of competition teams. “There were six days of dancing for the entire team. We were the only studio in attendance that had a routine in every division.”
Rachael McCannon was an instructor for the team and Nina Schulte was the choreographer.
The ExtravaDance & Tumble 8-and-under team, consisting of 12 girls with an average age of seven, won the National title in the Lyrical Dance division. They performed to the song “When She Loved Me.” Dance teams competed from all over the nation, including California, Texas, Michigan and Georgia.
“They are judged on technical ability, technique, performance, choreography and costuming. They really hit that routine for that final performance,” Summerlin said. “I think their technical ability, technique, the routine and the age appropriateness of it all stood out. They had the total package.”
While at the Kids Artistic Revue National Dance Competition, ExtravaDance & Tumble presented a check for $18,000 to Dancers Against Cancer. The dance studio has raised a total of $20,000 for Dancers Against Cancer this year.
“Dancers Against Cancer is an organization that gives money to dance communities that are affected by cancer and all of the money goes to that. The big fundraising event we had for it was “ExtravaDancing with The Stars,” said Summerlin.
ExtravaDance &Tumble Owner Sara Walser was proud of the dance teams from the studio, but was even prouder of the fundraising efforts.
“We had the ‘ExtravaDancing with The Stars’ event and we expected to maybe make $5,000. We ended up raising $18,000. You had to nominate people and it cost so much to nominate them. We had video and it culminated with five finalists,” Walser said. “We really like supporting that charity and we were really glad to present the check at the event. We have a child here that is a beneficiary of Dancers Against Cancer. Everybody that works for Dancers Against Cancer is a volunteer. There are no paid positions. I was proud of the kids, parents and teachers.”
Summerlin said people voted online for $1 for “ExtravaDancing with The Stars” and people could vote multiple times. Summerlin said the biggest donation they got for Dancers Against Cancer was $500.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Effective today, Saturday, July 16, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by dialing 988. Those in crisis may also use 1-800-273-8255, which will continue to function even after the transition.
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, confidential service and available 24/7/365, connecting those experiencing a mental health, substance use, or suicidal crisis with trained crisis counselors. It is available in Spanish, along with interpretation services in over 150 languages.
“Access to 988 is available through every land line, cell phone, and voice-over internet device in the United States,” said Todd Luck, a communications specialist with Forsyth County. “The nationwide transition to 988 as a three-digit call, text, and chat line is the first important step in reimagining crisis support in the U.S.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will now be known as The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.
According to the organization’s national website, www.988lifeline.org, when people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources, if necessary.
“The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline utilizes the guidance of experts, as well as the voices of lived experience, to continually improve Lifeline services. These individuals bring invaluable knowledge and support to our mission of reducing the national incidence of suicide,” the website states.
The website also notes that everyone can help prevent suicide, saying “understanding the issues concerning suicide and mental health is an important way to take part in suicide prevention, help others in crisis, and change the conversation around suicide.”
“Suicide is not inevitable for anyone. By starting the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicides and save lives,” it continues. “Evidence shows that providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self-harm, and following up with loved ones are just some of the actions we can all take to help others. By offering immediate counseling to everyone that may need it, local crisis centers provide invaluable support at critical times and connect individuals to local services.”

Know the Risk Factors
Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt or die by suicide. They can’t cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they’re important to be aware of.
• Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
• Alcohol and other substance use disorders
• Hopelessness
• Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
• History of trauma or abuse
• Major physical illnesses
• Previous suicide attempt(s)
• Family history of suicide
• Job or financial loss
• Loss of relationship(s)
• Easy access to lethal means
• Local clusters of suicide
• Lack of social support and sense of isolation
• Stigma associated with asking for help
• Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
• Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
• Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)
Know the Warning Signs
Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline.
• Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
• Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or isolating themselves
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Extreme mood swings

Running for Heroes

The young boy who founded a national non-profit organization recognizing injured and fallen first responders was in Town this past weekend to present a special grant to retired Kernersville Police Officer Sean Houle.
Zechariah Cartledge, 13, of Running 4 Heroes, met Houle at Town Hall early Saturday morning, June 18, to present Houle with a check for $10,000 as the organization’s May 2022 grant recipient. Those attending the presentation included members of the Kernersville Police Department (KPD), as well as KPD Chief Tim Summers and Houle’s family members.
“We run a mile for every police officer or firefighter who passes away in the line of duty. We also give $10,000 checks to first responders. That’s the reason we’re talking right now,” Cartledge told those who attended the Saturday morning presentation and subsequent run. “As many of you know, back on February 21, 2021, K9 Officer II Sean Houle was escorting someone home when he encountered a suspect he dealt with earlier on a traffic stop.”
Cartledge continued.
“Upon encountering the suspect, they had a short fight and, unfortunately, the suspect was able to get a hold of Officer Houle’s gun. After that, he shot him in the face, arm and hand, and because of the injuries, he had to undergo many surgeries at a time and afterward, he was in critical condition,” Cartledge noted.
Cartledge said that Houle’s surgeries included removing the bullet that struck him, as well as numerous reconstructive procedures, followed by physical therapy.
“From what I know, his injury was a very rare type of injury, called a unicorn-style injury, so a very rare type of injury and because of that, he had to medically retire,” Cartledge recounted.
Cartledge said that Houle’s injury has not stopped him from continuing to work with the KPD in a community way. He noted that he was especially impressed that Houle’s new path has him working to become a chaplain and that he has been inspired by Houle’s journey.
“I’m inspired by what you’re doing. I’m inspired by your continuous fight through your injuries. I know you’ve had many surgeries ever since the incident happened, so I wish you well. I hope you become a chaplain soon,” Cartledge said.
Carledge asked Houle if he was a chaplain yet, to which Houle replied that he is a chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.
“We travel around the county to manmade and natural disasters and minister to the folks going through things,” Houle explained. “It could be local. It could be far away.”
After the presentation, Cartledge ran from Town Hall, located at 134 East Mountain Street, to Kernersville Elementary School, at 512 West Mountain Street, in honor of Bethany Firefighter Brandon Yaeger, who died in the line of duty last month.
Houle thanked everyone who came out on Saturday on the Houle Strong Facebook page.
“Thank you so much everyone! What a special day! Thank you for your love and support of all first responders! I feel truly blessed and am so happy that Brandon was able to be honored! Love you all!” Houle posted.

Officer recognized

The accolades and honors keep coming for Kernersville Master Police Officer Corey McRae, and by all accounts, each and every one is just as deserving as the last. In March, McRae was named the Town of Kernersville Employee of the Year, an honor that was followed by the announcement last month that McRae has also been named the Kernersville Police Department (KPD) 2021 Officer of the Year.
Then last week, McRae, who serves as a member of the Forsyth County DWI Task Force, was recognized by the state’s MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) chapter at the organization’s annual Law Enforcement Recognition event for being second in the state among DWI task force enforcers, arresting 123 impaired drivers in 2021.
KPD Chief Tim Summers commented on McRae and the recognitions he has received this year, commending his dedication and commitment to law enforcement.
“Corey’s accomplishments are very well deserving of the awards he has received. It is without a doubt the reason he was awarded Kernersville Police Department Officer of the Year, Town of Kernersville Employee of the Year and recipient of a MADD award for his dedication, commitment and arrests on the Forsyth County DWI Task Force,” Summers said. “Corey is a cop’s cop. He consistently gives 100 percent and strives to be the best at everything he does.”
McRae said he never really thought about law enforcement while growing up or even throughout high school. It wasn’t until after he had graduated that McRae found his calling.
McRae began pursuit of a career in law enforcement soon after, enrolling in classes at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) in the fall of 2009 to study for an associate’s degree in criminal justice. McRae finished his degree, along with basic law enforcement training, in December 2011. His first job was with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, hired in March 2012. Five years later, McRae was hired by the KPD in June 2017.
If McRae was surprised at being named the Employee of the Year by the Town of Kernersville, he was even more surprised to be named the KPD Officer of the Year.
“I was very surprised to have been chosen for this award. I had no idea until it was announced that I had been chosen,” McRae said. “It was very humbling and (I am) appreciative. I cannot express my gratitude towards all my peers for even being considered. There are so many great officers with the Town of Kernersville that were deserving of this recognition.”
McRae said he was honored to be recognized by MADD again this year. Last year, McRae had the third highest number of task force arrests, followed by KPD Sgt. Sam Johnson, a former member of the countywide DWI task force, who had the fourth highest total.
“I’m honored to receive this award by an organization as important as MADD. It was a great evening highlighting the achievements of not only officers across the state, but also that of prosecutors and victim advocates,” McRae noted. “It is a nice acknowledgement for people to see the efforts that I and many officers seek in preventing injuries and fatalities on the streets and highways of North Carolina as a result of impaired driving. The most important part for me is simply the constant need to highlight the problem and danger that exists with impaired driving. So, through the acknowledgement of the awards, hopefully it further brings awareness how many impaired drivers there are across the state of North Carolina and the entire country each year.”
McRae believes units like the Forsyth County DWI Task Force provide an invaluable service in the community.
“Each impaired driver stopped could be a life saved. That’s ultimately the most important goal of our team which is reducing the number of fatal wrecks on our streets and highways as a result of impaired driving,” McRae said.
What surprises McRae most about people who choose to drive while impaired and is there anything he would say to them before they got behind the wheel to drive?
“The biggest surprise is the constant risk people are willing to take with so many ride sharing services available,” McRae said. “I would tell them to have a plan before they go out for the evening. Without a plan ahead of time once they are in the position to get home, unfortunately a poor choice is commonly the one picked. If you are planning on going out at any point and alcohol is involved, simply plan ahead of time.”
McRae said he would continue to do the same work regardless of whether or not he receives awards or accolades.
“I would say the award in and of itself does not mean anything to me. I would continue to do the same work regardless of any achievements or awards obtained,” McRae said. “I am grateful for MADD presenting them and putting a focus on the dangers of impaired driving, but I simply want to try my best to make sure everyone on the roads are being safe and get to their destination.”
McRae said his career has been shaped by many.
“There have been numerous officers throughout my career that have shaped the kind of officer I strive to be. Many officers I have worked with and continue to work with on a daily basis, I respect and try to emulate,” McRae said.
McRae also thanked the KPD and Town of Kernersville for making it possible for him to do the work he does.
“I would just like to thank my supervision up to the administration of the Town of Kernersville. Without their support of the Forsyth County DWI Task Force my efforts could not be possible,” McRae said.
Finally, McRae wanted to make his own acknowledgement to the Forsyth County DWI Task Force and especially a respected and much beloved member of the team who passed away last year from COVID-19.
“I would like to mention the Forsyth County DWI Task Force was also selected as the DWI Task Force of the Year for 2020. MADD combined the awards ceremony for the 2020 and 2021 years. This was an achievement that I’m proud of for the members of our team. It was a bittersweet moment as our supervisor, WSPD (Winston-Salem Police Department) Sgt. McDonald passed away from COVID in October of 2021,” McRae shared. “He was one of the most passionate officers I’ve worked with and continued to be proactive in impaired driving enforcement even as his retirement neared. MADD presented a very nice speech in his remembrance, which was very much appreciated.”

Running 4 Heroes

A national non-profit organization that recognizes injured and fallen first responders has awarded a $10,000 grant to retired Kernersville Police Officer Sean Houle.
Houle was severely wounded in the line of duty after being shot with his own weapon by a suspect during a struggle in the early morning hours of February 21, 2021. After weeks in the hospital and months of recovery that included numerous surgeries, Houle retired from the Kernersville Police Department (KPD) last December. Today, Houle works as a chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.
Running 4 Heroes, Inc. announced Thursday that Houle is the May 2022 recipient of the organization’s Injured First Responder Grant after Houle was nominated for the award.
“The Running 4 Heroes organization continues to keep K9 Officer II Sean Houle in our prayers, and we are honored to announce that Officer Houle has been selected as our May 2022 recipient of our $10,000 Injured First Responder Grant,” noted a social media post announcing Houle’s selection.
The announcement also noted, “On February 21st, 2021, K9 Officer II Sean Houle of the Kernersville Police Department in North Carolina was giving someone a ride home when he encountered a man that he had dealt with earlier in the evening during a traffic stop. A struggle ensued, and the suspect managed to get ahold of Officer Houle’s gun and shot him with it, hitting him in the face, arm, and hand.
“The incident left Officer Houle in Critical condition, and since the incident, he has undergone multiple surgeries, including the removal of the bullet, reconstruction surgeries and a multitude of therapy sessions. The type of injuries he sustained was deemed a “unicorn style” injury, and that the projection of the bullet caused a rare style of injury. Because of the injury, Officer Houle was forced to medically retire, though he is working on becoming a chaplain for his agency and using his testimony to inspire and encourage others. His K9 Jax was also able to retire with him and will be able to remain by his handler’s side as he continues to recover.”
Houle has spoken often about his experience, crediting God, his fellow first responders and the doctors and nurses who treated him that night for saving his life, in what can only be described as a miraculous recovery considering his injuries were so severe.
“I truly, honestly believed that was it. I closed my eyes and I saw my wife and two boys. It was like I could reach out and touch them,” Houle told the Kernersville News during a May 2021 interview. “If there’s a person out there that has a doubt about God, about prayer, read about me. God definitely had His hand on me that night.”
Houle continued.
“Everyone, Forsyth County EMS, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, the officers I work with on my squad and the dispatcher, they basically had to be perfect that night and they were. They responded with urgency and in record time. They got me to the hospital where the doctors could treat me,” Houle said. “It had to be perfect. God made us all human. We’re not perfect, but that night, He had his hand on me and everyone else to do their jobs and work on me perfectly.”
According to the Running 4 Heroes website, the organization “started with a kid, an appreciation for our First Responders, and a mission to raise awareness and funds for those fallen in the line of duty.”
“Zechariah Cartledge was born with the gift of running. He was raised with an appreciation for First Responders and all they do for the community. As he grew older, Zechariah decided to help the families of our fallen First Responders in a meaningful way. Encouraged by the mission and vision of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Zechariah began his journey raising funds for those families by running,” the website notes. “In 2019, Running 4 Heroes officially became a non-profit 501(c)(3). Zechariah runs one mile for every First Responder who makes the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. He wants to honor those who gave up their life so we may live in a better world.”
With Houle’s grant award, Running 4 Heroes stated that the organization has now been able to award $277,500 in funding to a combined 32 heroes who have been injured in the line of duty since January 2020.
Running 4 Heroes also posted that Zechariah, 13, and his father, Chad Cartledge, CEO of the organization, will be in North Carolina in early June to present Houle with his grant award. They are also working closely with the KPD on coordinating a location where Zechariah can do a one-mile run in support of North Carolina first responders.
“We are excited to return to North Carolina, and we ask everyone to continue to keep the recovery of Officer Houle in your thoughts and prayers,” Running 4 Heroes concluded.