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Camden man is Sumter hero

Posted: March 14, 2014 2:08 p.m.
Updated: March 17, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Chris Pair, of Camden, is being described as a hero in Sumter after he assisted two teenage boys injured in a traffic accident. For his heroism, the Midlands Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers recently named Pair its Man of the Year. The group will present him with the award during a ceremony in May.

Feb. 15 -- Pair is driving in his car along S.C. 261 on his way back to Camden from Sumter where he had taken his dog to the vet.

“Coming back on 261, I noticed that a Chevy truck was flipped over in a culvert and my first thought was, ‘No one survived this,’” Pair said. “I got out of the car. I could see movement (in the truck).”

Pair said a group of bystanders had crowded around the truck, but no one seemed to be doing anything. He also noticed that while ambulances had been called to the scene, they hadn’t arrived yet.

Pair also noticed that gas and oil were accumulating in the ditch beside the truck. That fact prompted Pair to remove the two passengers and pull them a safe distance away from the truck.

“They were both 17-year-old guys. The first had bitten completely through his lip,” Pair said. “He was bleeding profusely … I started working on him, got him cleaned up.”

The other passenger had suffered a compound fracture, Pair said, with “his bone … sticking out of his arm.”

Pair is a 14-year Army veteran, “proud to be in the Army,” he said, and has served in several combat operations. He is a qualified special operations first responder and combat lifesaver.

“In combat over in Iraq, I did a lot of first aid,” he said. “I knew to remain calm and keep everyone else calm. You need someone with those leadership skills … to take control of the situation.”

Pair said he keeps a first-aid bag in his car at all times and used it to dress the victims’ wounds. He also took charge at the scene, guiding other bystanders to bring him fresh water to clean the victims’ wounds and instructing others to apply pressure on dressed wounds.

He said he “couldn’t just drive by a scene like that and not stop.” Though his training is designed for field experiences, Pair stated that he was also trained to respond to emergencies like car accidents, too.

Pair describes himself as being from “all over,” but currently resides in Camden.

“I love Camden, I’m proud to be from here,” he said.

One aspect that drew him to the city was that he enjoys “the small town feel” of it. Pair said he appreciates the sense of community in small towns. He’s become very involved in his own community working as a mentor at a local elementary school and volunteering at food shelters. And there’s one more thing he does each year.

“Every Christmas, I go to Walmart and pay off a stranger’s layaway,” he said. “It has to be toys, though.”

Pair and his wife, Mandy have an 8-year-old son, Maison; 6-year-old daughter, Kaylee; and 4-year-old foster son, Malik.

“Mandy and I are hoping to get a baby to foster,” Pair said, adding that his wife is very proud of him. “She’s my angel. She always used to joke with me about the first-aid kit I keep in my car and now we’re both so glad I had it when I needed it.”

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