‘Stitchy’ proud to save lives from the Rio Cobre
Oscar 'Stitchy' Field, 54, frequently finds himself running to Flat Bridge as screams of terror and shouts for help echo above the thunderous rush of the Rio Cobre.
Field, who has lived in Kent Village in Bog Walk all his life, says it has become a habit to check the bridge and the surrounding areas every time there is heavy rain as almost always, someone needs help.
One of his most memorable rescues was that of a man whom he found sitting on his car window praying as the vehicle was being carried away by the river.
"Me remember a brethren in a red Lada, and the road and the water level in a one. First, me a seh nothing nuh round deh 'cause anything weh deh pon the road must gone. Me brethren weh name Renny seh we fi walk go round deh," Field told THE WEEKEND STAR. "When we look, the man siddung pon him window wid a Bible a pray. By the time we go in and touch the car, it start float weh. Same time, the man bawl out, 'Stitchy!' Me ask him if him know me, and him seh no, him hear me brethren call me suh.We kinda drift it to the banking and go round pon the next end, and we take him out."
Field said that after the man was brought to safety, they asked him why he hadn't jumped from the car and tried to help himself.
"Him seh him caah swim, so him a pray and tell God seh him a go dead 'cause him a Christian. Him give me $1,000 and some silver, and me seh, 'Keep that, man, 'cause maybe yuh feel bad later and need fi buy two icy mint'. We nah watch money ..., a life we a look pon," he said. The man even invited Field and Renny to his wedding anniversary celebrations, but Field says they didn't make it. More recently, he said, he had the honour of rescuing an officer.
"Me save all police. The man a wash weh, and me go fi him. And me a live off a dat right now. Him pass through nuff time and a seh me deh pon him payroll. Di man rate me, man," he said.
Field is known as a skilled diver in the community, but on one occasion, family and friends mourned as they thought he had met his demise.
"Me see cow a wash weh and jump off in a dat. All me pants wash off clean. The road full a people, and dem a bawl seh me dead because dem nuh see me come back up, but a me pride ... . Too much people, and me naked, so me run go hide," he laughed. Camelia Sith, his niece, says she thought her uncle was gone forever.
"We know him can manage himself 'cause dem grow a river, but we think him wash weh. One cow him go fah and nearly get wash weh!" she said. "We caa do nothing bout it ... . A fi him choice. Once you go in a water, anything can happen, but him mek him choice."
Field was awarded a plaque by the Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme and Water Resources Authority for his continued contributions to the Rio Cobre Flood Early Warning System.