Zoneton Fire Chief recalls EMS, community response for late Bullitt County Lt. Scotty McGaha

Zoneton Fire Chief recalls EMS, community response for late Bullitt County Lt. Scotty McGaha

BULLITT COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) - A community is remembering a man who dedicated his life to helping others. Lt. Scotty McGaha from the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Office spent his life in service, and on Saturday, McGaha died from what the coroner believes was a heart attack. Those he worked with over the years rushed to help him.

The Zoneton Fire Department was one of the agencies that responded.

"The sheriff's office was there, Bullitt County EMS, the paramedic on the truck did everything they could and the doctor at the hospital worked and worked him," Zoneton Fire Chief Rob Orkies said. "I think everyone in this community pulled together for those minutes or hours to do everything they possibly could for this person in our community that a lot of people looked up to."

Zoneton Fire Chief Rob Orkies said he knew McGaha for about 30 years. Not only in the first responder circle but, they were friends.
Zoneton Fire Chief Rob Orkies said he knew McGaha for about 30 years. Not only in the first responder circle but, they were friends. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Chief Orkies said he knew McGaha for about 30 years. Not only in the first responder circle but, they were friends.

“Scotty was the guy,” Orkies said. “The guy who always had the smile. No matter what question you had, Scotty had the answer.”

McGaha was familiar face to many. For years, he spoke about important cases that his department was working on with reporters at WAVE 3 News.

“He was just that kind of guy even when he came to you for bad news, he had a way to make it not so bad,” Orkies said.

Chief Orkies and so many others didn’t see his death coming. Early Saturday morning, Orkies says his department was dispatched to assist Bullitt County EMS for a call on an “unconscious/unresponsive person."

”You have to think a way a responder does," Chief Orkies said. “Initially, you aren’t looking to see if you know the person to perform your best, you just perform your best. Actually some of crew didn’t realize it was Scotty until after we got to the hospital with him then, they heard it was Scotty. Would it make a difference on the procedure that we were doing and the CPR? It didn’t make a difference who it was. It was the after effect is, ‘wow, that was Scotty.’”

Scotty died at the age of 69. He did a lot with the years that he had. He was a Marine, husband, father, grandfather, friend, and public servant. He dedicated his life to helping others, this loss hurts.

“It will leave such an open wound there for a while,” Chief Orkies said. “Some people will probably not know what to do for a while because he has that impact. He has that compassion for people, that concern for people. As you said, an everyday name in most folks lives in Bullitt County.”

McGaha’s wife of 49 years passed away just four months ago. He died one day before his retirement. He was supposed to be sworn in Tuesday as a reserve officer at the Audubon Park Police Department. Instead his loved ones will come together for his visitation.

According to McGaha’s obituary, a celebration of life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at Little Flock Baptist Church located at 5500 N. Preston Hwy in Shepherdsville, KY with cremation to follow. Friends can pay their respects on Tuesday from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Schoppenhorst, Underwood and Brooks Funeral Home (Preston Highway at Brooks Road) and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until time of service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, a scholarship has been established in memory of Scotty and JoAnn at the University of Louisville. Donations may be sent to: Attn. D. Bohn 2323 S. Brook Street Louisville, KY 40292.

Proceeds will benefit the Scotty and JoAnn McGaha Scholarship in Criminal Justice for first-generation college students and veterans.

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