Giant Step Toward Needed Training
Moore County and the region took a giant step forward last week toward the further professionalism of their public safety agencies.
And many of his fellow residents will think it fitting that the impressive $2.5 million Larry R. Caddell Public Safety Training Center dedicated by Sandhills Community College should be named in honor of a man who has worked so selflessly and devotedly for much of his adult life to better the quality of life of his beloved county.
The sprawling new complex, located not on the SCC campus but rather on a 40-acre site next to the old Carthage Fabrics plant on Niagara Carthage Road, will offer specialized training activities for both professionals and volunteers involved in area fire departments, sheriff’s departments, police departments and rescue squads. It will function as part of the college’s continuing education program.
This cutting-edge facility looks like something you might see on an up-to-date military base. Included are a “burn building” in which firefighters can safely practice battling residential conflagrations, a four-story tower on which rappelling and rescue simulations can be practiced, a mobile classroom unit and a control tower.
Additional features envisioned for the future include an indoor weapons firing range and a track on which emergency service personnel can practice driving their vehicles under carefully controlled conditions.
John Dempsey, SCC’s president, did not exaggerate when he described Friday’s dedication of the center, which has been in the planning stages for 25 years, as “a milestone. And the college’s Board of Trustees had good reason for naming it for Caddell. A county commissioner and longtime former college board member, he understands the sacrifice involved in public-safety work as well as anyone because of his background as a volunteer firefighter and assistant chief with the Carthage Fire Department.
Caddell, working with the Riddle family and the Century Committee of Carthage, also played a key role in helping Sandhills acquire the property on which the new center now sits.
It is an especially poignant backstory that Caddell lost his family home in a devastating fire last year. Nothing can erase the pain of that. But at least Caddell can find comfort in the fact that his fellow community leaders saw fit to acknowledge his leadership in such a meaningful way.
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