Local hero honored by county, state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2023

SALISBURY — Toni Bolt already received one award for her heroic actions earlier this year, but she received many more awards and recognitions during the Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday.

Bolt received a recognition from the county commissioners, a state flag flown in her honor over the capitol building in Raleigh, the Commissioner’s Award for Heroism from the state insurance commissioner and recognition as Comfort Keeper of the Year from the personal care company she works for, Comfort Keepers.

Mike Causey, the state insurance commissioner, personally awarded Bolt with the heroism award.

“At 7:57 a.m. a call comes in and firefighters this is what we hear. ‘A structure fire, someone is trapped.’ And I will tell you that when we hear that that early in the morning, also hearing that the person is handicapped and bed-bound, we’re thinking we’re going to have a bad day. But we serve a mighty God and Toni Bolt allowed him to use her that day,” said Horne.

In July, Bolt, who is a personal care nurse, was arriving at the house of one of her clients and noticed smoke coming from the woman’s building. Instead of calling 911 and waiting for the firefighters to take over when they arrived, Bolt and the woman’s neighbors worked to get her out before the fire could get worse.

“Mrs. Bolt met me outside the house and she said, ‘Oh, I carried her.’ That is literally all she said. Finally, I looked and I said ‘How did this lady get out?’ Finally I called her manager and said ‘Oh yes, we’re on the way back out there and I have told her she’s going to tell you everything.’ She did not want us to know that she was the one, she was so humble and that is one thing that just strikes us,” said Deborah Horne, fire division chief with Rowan County’s emergency services department.

Horne also said that she was amazed Bolt had never gone to school to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, and if Bolt was willing to go to school Horne and others in the department would be willing to personally pay for it as another way to honor her.

Bolt was recognized by the Civitan Club of Salisbury in September and given the Ernest Curtis Hero Award.