SURRATT: Thank you, James Anderson

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 26, 2022

Thursday morning, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen honored a hero.

James Anderson was going about his daily routine on Aug. 7, walking down Washington Street past the Vicksburg Event and Business Center where he sometimes works as a handyman for the owners, Dr. Deborah and Johnny Stanfield.

While going to Speedmart across the street, Anderson noticed Johnny in his vehicle parked outside the Event Center building and went along his way. A few hours after he got home, Anderson said he felt something wasn’t right. He went to check to see if Johnny’s vehicle was still there. It was.

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Anderson found Johnny unresponsive in the driver’s seat.

“He was in the car about three or four hours,” he said. “I walked away and came back, and he was in the car with his eyes still open.”

Johnny, a military veteran, had gone into a diabetic coma, according to Deborah.

Anderson tried unsuccessfully to flag down several passing vehicles before catching the attention of a Vicksburg police officer, who called for an ambulance.

Johnny was taken to Merit Health River Region Hospital and was later airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. He is still recovering, but Deborah said he is making progress.

Thursday morning, Anderson received a standing ovation from the audience at the board meeting and a proclamation from Mayor George Flaggs Jr. commending his efforts to save Johnny Stanfield; well-deserved recognition for someone who thought more of another person than himself and helped that individual in his time of need.

Over the years, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen have taken time at their meetings to recognize people for doing something outstanding. In the past, they have recognized people for academic achievement, two young men for their honesty in returning a wallet containing $500 to its owner and others. In Anderson, they recognized not just a hero, but a man of rare quality — someone who is willing to put their life on hold to save someone else.

In The Vicksburg Post article about Anderson’s efforts, Deborah Stanfield called Anderson “a guardian angel.” On Aug. 7, he was.

In my years as a reporter, I have seen things that make me worry about human nature. And then, I see people like James Anderson who restore my faith in human nature. I’m glad there are people like him who are willing to help others in need and he deserves the recognition and I’ll add this — thank you, James Anderson, for restoring my faith in mankind by showing your concern for your fellow man.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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