ROGERSVILLE (WATE) – It wasn’t the reason they did it, but the heroes who helped bring Carlie Trent home stand to receive thousands of dollars in reward money.
They ventured out searching every day soon after the 9-year-old went missing. Something led them to a rural part of Hawkins County where they found Carlie alive with her uncle Gary Simpson following an eight-day Amber Alert. Simpson is alleged to have kidnapped her by taking her from school under false pretenses.. He was in court Monday facing a judge and hearing the charges against him.
We spoke with those who donated their money to the cause, hoping the community sees this reward is all heart.
Meeting Carlie was the only thing her rescuers wanted.
“I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to give the Lord praise for everything,” said Stuart Franklin.
“I’m not anybody’s hero by any means. I’m a sinner saved by grace,” added Roger Carpenter.
Both Franklin and Carpenter, along with Larry Hamblen and Donnie Lawson, saved Carlie last week They’ll be offered the roughly $35,000 community-raised reward.
“They’re very humble gentlemen. This is well deserved. I don’t have a hesitation. I know nobody has a hesitation, one. No matter what they do with, don’t do with it. I’m excited she’s home,” said her pediatrician Dr. Chris Calendine.
Dr. Calendine, along with bankers, a musician and a number of people in the community simply wanted to give added to the reward in the last week.
“If it was one of my kids I would do everything possible and hope the community would too just like they did for Carlie,” said Josh Myers who donated $500.
Many in Hawkins County say it’s never been about money, rather heart.
“A lot of people here in the community gave everything they had whether it was time, gas, money,” said Dr. Calendine.
Carlie’s four heroes say they’re working together on what to do with the money and plan on sharing it soon, but bottom line it was all thanks to God.
Those coordinating the reward add they’re overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown, which in turn makes giving the reward a blessing too.
“I hope they’re very proud of what they’ve done,” said Dr. Calendine.
The U.S. Marshals and TBI each offered a reward in the hopes to find Carlie. As of now, the U.S. Marshals chipped in $5,000 and TBI gave $1,000 though both agencies say they can only speak on their contributions. At this point no decisions have been made.