Paramedics rescue elderly woman with dementia missing in freezing temperatures

Macario Chism from Missouri spends most of his days as a sanitation worker at Waste Pro USA, taking care of people’s trash. But one day in January, that very job led him to become a hero.

That day, 82-year-old Thelma Bates had disappeared at 3am, setting off a silver alert. The woman has dementia and her family feared for her safety.

It also happened that on the morning of her disappearance it was only 16 degrees and she was not wearing shoes.

“Oh, I was so worried sick,” Thelma’s eldest daughter, Marian Bates, said KAIT TV. “The whole community came together”


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“One of the townspeople who is a volunteer firefighter called me early this morning after the silver alert was issued,” Caruthersville Code Enforcement Officer Barry Gilmore told the station.

“None of us really thought it would end like this.”

Aware of the Silver Alert, Macario knew he would be working in Caruthersville, where Thelma was reported missing, and was determined to find her.

“Yeah, he’s told me several times, he said, ‘I felt like I had to find this lady,'” said Chris Booker, also with Waste Pro USA.

“I need to find this lady because she’s either frozen to death or she might be dead,” Chism said aloud to himself WREG TV.

When he was near a property with a small shop building in the backyard around 6:30 or 7:00 am, he noticed that something was wrong.

“I noticed the store door being swung open and closed by the wind, and then I noticed her on the floor in the store,” Chism said. “And she rose and then fell back.”


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He ran to her and picked her up, then put her in the cab of his truck and covered her bare feet, honking his horn to get someone’s attention. Eventually she was taken to a hospital and although many feared she would succumb to her time in the elements, she made it through with only a few minor injuries.

The rescue meant a lot to Chism, who was reminded of his own grandmother

“My grandmother died in my arms,” ​​he told KAIT. “Like… I couldn’t save her, so I was just glad to save Mrs. Bates.”

“He took his time, he paid attention, and he found her and saved her life,” Gilmore said. “And again, I couldn’t be prouder of the guy.”

Thelma’s family is incredibly grateful to Chism and considers him family after his exploits.

“If it weren’t for Cario, we’d probably put some flowers on my mom’s grave today…if it wasn’t for Cario,” said Renee Bates, another family member.

Chism was also recognized by KAIT, who presented him with the Gr8 Acts of Kindness Award in March, once again reminding him how much his actions were appreciated.

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she has devoted herself to writing and is particularly fond of animal-related subjects.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t know exactly how. She graduated from California State Polytechnic University with an MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, and wrote her thesis on metacognitive development and literacy transfer in freshmen.
She has a range of interests that keep her busy including trying new recipes, enjoying the great outdoors, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, observing people, developing curriculum and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she had blue-green hair.
In addition to a book in the works on productive communication strategies, Amanda writes and illustrates a number of children’s books with her husband Edward.


Austin, Texas

Spoken languages

English and a little German

Topics of expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking Paramedics rescue elderly woman with dementia missing in freezing temperatures

John Verrall

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