“The good in people” brought Maxine home

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott presents Coval Reynolds, 10, with a Live PD t-shirt and a Sheriff’s Community Service award for his role in rescuing a dog named Maxine from a storm drain.

BLYTHEWOOD – Several Blythewood folks are being hailed as heroes this week after helping rescue an elderly, ill dog who become trapped in an eight-foot deep storm drain.

The rescue was filmed on Live PD last week and viewed across the country and beyond. One of the rescuers, John Edwards, a barber and owner of the Blythewood Cigar Bar, said he was shocked when those viewers began showering him with rock star treatment.

John Edwards was honored for his part in the rescue.

“By Sunday evening I had 12,000 messages of gratitude from around the world on social media,” he said. Walking out of Target Tuesday morning, Edwards said a man shouted, “Hey, man, are you the guy that rescued Maxine?”

It all began about 5 p.m. on Friday, when 10-year old Corval Reynolds was picking up trash in his Lincrest neighborhood.

“I heard a dog whimpering and told my mom, and she called 911,” Corval later told deputies.

Edwards, Steve Cantey and other neighbors joined deputies in what became a three-hour rescue operation.

The whimpers were coming from beneath a manhole cover of a storm drain at the edge of the street. Deputies repeatedly climbed down a ladder into the abyss to assess what seemed an impossible rescue. About eight feet down, the hole was connected to a culvert. The dog was in that culvert, but about 50 feet out of reach of rescuers. The culvert was too small for the dog to walk.

With rope and other equipment provided by Cantey, Edwards descended several times into the manhole. When he would go back up, he said the dog would cry and bark, thinking they were leaving her.

“It was emotional,” he said.

“After several attempts, and using a collapsable extension pole, I finally reached the dog and looped a rope around her neck and leg and slowly dragged her to me. She was very weak. By the time I got her out of the culvert, I was exhausted and one of the deputies had to come down and bring her up.

“He climbed up the ladder cradling the dog in one arm,” Edwards recalled. “Everybody up there was cheering.”

The deputies rushed the dog to a veterinarian where a chip scan identified her family in nearby Eagles Glen. Her ‘mom’ Fran Prokop said Maxine, 17, was very ill with kidney disease and had slipped out of her yard on a bathroom break two days earlier. Her family had been driving all over the neighborhood and posting about her on social media, Prokop said.

In a press conference held Monday to honor rescuers, Sheriff Leon Lott presented community service awards to Corval, Edwards and Cantey and the Sheriffs Award for Excellence to the two deputies, Bryce Hughes and Chris Sinceno.

Prokop came to the microphone to thank the rescuers, but said through tears that her beloved Maxine, had passed away the night before – two days after the rescue – from age, illness and possibly the trauma of the ordeal.

“On Friday night we saw the good in people – law enforcement, neighbors, young and old,” Lott said. “There was no hesitation. People came together to help this dog. Sometimes people say, ‘It was just a dog,’ Lott said, then paused, fighting back tears. “It’s not just a dog. A dog is something that loves us very much and we love them,” he said, noting that the rescue gave Maxine two more days with her loving family.

“It was worth every minute,” he said.