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Jay and Kerri Kramer Lovelady

Jay, Class of 1973
Kerri, Class of 1976

Jay and his wife, Kerri, at Jay's Olympic Torch Run
Detroit, Michigan
January 6, 2002

Jay pictured in the Gwinnett Daily Post - January 2, 2002
Photo taken by Bill Roa, Gwinnett Daily Post

Article and photo are from the Gwinnett Daily Post, January 2, 2002.

Local life saver to carry Olympic torch
By Camie Young
Staff Writer, Gwinnett Daily Post

LAWRENCEVILLE — A nightmare has turned into a dream come true for a Lawrenceville man. Jay Lovelady, 46, will carry the Olympic torch Sunday in Detroit, Mich., in appreciation for the life he saved one June night. Sitting at home June 26, Lovelady was jarred by a loud noise. He knew it was a wreck. Leaving to pick up his 15-year-old son Caleb, who was watching wrestling with friends, Lovelady decided to investigate. Just outside his neighborhood, Edgewater, Lovelady saw a car upended and on fire. The Delta health-services executive went on auto-pilot. He pulled 20-year-old Mark Vanderwaag from the car just before it exploded. “I went up there and I never expected anything like that,” Lovelady said. “I heard the noise and I recognized it as a wreck. I don’t want to think I saved his life.” It took Vanderwaag five weeks to recover from the third-degree burns on the right side of his body and the fractured skull, and he is quick to give credit where it is due. “I can’t really remember anything,” he said. “I can just tell you what I heard by word of mouth. He got me in the nick of time. I am very grateful.”

This month, Lovelady will carry the Olympic torch, just a little token of appreciation from Delta for his acts. Lovelady was selected as one of 100 Delta employees with the “Moments of Greatness” program. As the official airlines of the games, Delta was given the slots in the torch run to the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Lovelady got the news just after Sept. 11. “I’m sitting here thinking about who I’m going to have to fire, and my boss says ‘Before we have the bad news, let’s get to the good news,’” Lovelady said with a smile. “I was just shocked. “They were selected from all over the country. It’s a neat honor. It really is.” But the father of three is quick to brush off the credit. “I just felt like I was doing what everyone else would have done,” Lovelady said. “I didn’t really consider myself any kind of hero.” Vanderwaag fell asleep at the wheel that night, June 26. And Lovelady was interested most in making the experience a lesson for Caleb and 19-year-old twins Andy and Ben. A police officer visited the family at home to explain the circumstances around the accident to the teenagers. Andy graduates from the Coast Guard Academy two days before his father will carry the torch.


Created 3/18/2002

Colorized Titan reproduced with Jeannine Lawrence's permission.
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produced by Karen Griffin Dean
using the original Towers Titan design.
All THS alumni photographs owned by each represented THS alumnus.
Web page COPYRIGHT © 2002 by KGDean.

News article and photo on Jay are from the Gwinnett Daily Post, January 2, 2002
and are copyrighted by the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Permission given to use news article by
J.K. Murphy, Executive Editor
Gwinnett Daily Post
770.963.9205 Ext. 1300
All Rights Reserved.