Lake Wales City Worker Who Saved Co-Worker’s Life Honored For His Brave Rescue
by James Coulter
What started as a simple delivery to a job site quickly turned into a daring, life-saving rescue that earned one brave Lake Wales city worker a proclamation in honor of his heroic deed.
On Jan. 25, 2021, Clayton Taylor, Inventory Coordinator for the City of Lake Wales, visited a job site at 315 E Sessoms Ave. to deliver some supplies. Several water technicians were busy completing a water line repair.
One worker, Pedro Rodarte, System Technician for the Water Department, had to cut a ductile iron pipe to install a new line to repair the water break. As he was cutting into the pipe with a demolition saw, the blade kicked back and cut into his throat.
“At first, it was like those slow-motion things where you look at it, and you see that it was really close, and then when he dropped the saw, he went to go grab his neck, and I can tell it was game on,” Taylor said.
Taylor immediately jumped into the hole, took his shirt off, and wrapped it around Rodarte’s throat to stop the bleeding. As he did so, he told the other workers to call 911.
“One of the guys, his phone was not working for whatever reason, and he couldn’t get a hold of it, so I called 911 and got them on the phone and got dispatch,” Taylor said. “So it was an interesting day to say the least.”
Taylor had four-years of medical experience serving as a combat medic for the Army 82nd Airborne, which allowed him to handle the situation with practical immediacy and precision, he said.
EMS soon arrived for Rodarte to treat his wounds and airlift him to a Lakeland hospital, Taylor explained. There he received four hours of surgery and was quickly released four days later.
“He is doing well now,” Taylor said. “He got his stitches out, he is trying to get back to work, but he is taking his time, so maybe next week he will be back to work.”
At the most recent city commission meeting, Taylor was honored for his valor with an official proclamation, declaring Feb. 16, 2021 to be Clayton Taylor Recognition Day.
“Whereas, Clayton Taylor’s quick and accurate response made an IMPACT in a very dangerous situation; and whereas, Clayton Taylor has been nominated and recognized by his department with an IMPACT award…we at the City of Lake Wales wish to honor and thank him for the positive IMPACT he has had on the City and his co-workers,” the proclamation read.
Taylor had been working in the city for the past five years and at his current position for two years. He is currently working with the city to pass new safety regulations and order supplies for
medical kits that will be provided to workers to prepare for similar incidents in the near future. As for the proclamation dedicating an entire day after him, he was incredibly honored.
“I was honored,” he said. “It was a shock. I wasn’t prepared for it. It was anything I would have done for anyone, honestly…So I am honored to have that [recognition] on me.