Bart Fremow: A true rescue volunteer

Tom KingBlount, Our Town Heroes

“Twitchy” is his nickname at Knox County Rescue and it’s not a stretch to describe him as a “poster boy,” representing what it means to be a proud volunteer for this organization, chartered way back in 1958.


His name is Bart Fremow, a 47-year-old grandfather who has reared three kids and works a busy, full-time job at Red Stag Fulfillment. The Twitchy moniker is something he does not mind.

Bart Fremow

“I’m a real ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) type guy and when I get really nervous or excited I have a tick – my head starts twitching and shaking,” he says. “I’m full of nervous energy, maybe kind of goofy even. I love to laugh. Loving people warms my heart. I try to see the good in everybody.”

One KCR member says: “… Bart always is at the station, volunteering to go into schools and teach. He volunteers for every single PR event, is right there at every emergency. He even took vacation time to go help in Cookeville and Putnam County with the tornadoes. He’s truly amazing, working full-time and working here when he’s needed.”

Bart describes himself: “I’m a loyal friend. I am a true patriot about my country. I’m an emotional man. My kids and my grandson are my life.

On Thursday of this past week, while at work, he heard a call about a single-car accident near Red Stag in the Forks of the River Industrial Park. He jumped in his car and was there within minutes to help a man who had slammed into a tree. And kudos to Red Stag for allowing him to serve our community, too, and being flexible about this.

Here are his jobs a KCR:

  • First responder on engines to accidents, extricating people trapped in a vehicle and rendering first aid or CPR.
  • Member of the Dive Team. He works above the water, tending to the divers, driving boats and talking with family members.
  • Certified swift-water rescue technician.
  • Member of the Heavy Rescue Team, responding to accidents involving big rigs or large vehicles, machines and trench rescues.

Fremow came to East Tennessee and Maryville 16 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky, where he grew up. He worked for STS/UtiliQuest, which locates underground utilities for municipalities, builders, developers and utilities. When it opened an office here, he was transferred.

For 15 years, he was a member of the Blount County Red Cross Disaster Team and is a former member of the Greenback Rescue Squad. From there he joined KCR in 2015 when he learned about its training and organization. “I did a ride-a-long and fell in love with them. They’ll have to run me off to get rid of me,” he says.

Fremow’s son Jacob, 26, is a patrol officer for the Louisville (Kentucky) Metro Police Department. Daughter Kendall, 21, works for a neurosurgeon. Carter, 20, is about to begin training to work on ambulances for AMR in Knoxville.

Fremow’s only grandchild is Jace, son of Jacob and his wife, Breanne.

“Not long after he was born, they noticed he seemed to be having trouble moving his legs.” Doctors diagnosed him with a rare form of cancer, he explained as tears flowed.

Jace, now 2, has ATRT (atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor), a rare and fast-growing cancerous tumor of the brain and spinal cord. Doctors found a lump on his spine, which was removed, as was a kidney and a spot on his brain.

“He will be in a wheelchair but the doctors said that one day he may be able to walk with crutches,” Fremow added.

Marriage appears to be in his plans. Bart and Susan Parmer have been dating for three years. She is a tech sergeant in the U.S. Air Force at McGhee Tyson.

How does this tightly wound guy relax? He’s an avid deer hunter – guns and bows. Hiking in the Great Smokies and taking drives with Susan anywhere.

“One more,” he said. “Watching my Green Bay Packers.”

Tom King writes this Monday column – Our Town Heroes –for KnoxTNToday.com. Suggest future stories at tking535@gmail.com or call him at 865-659-3562.

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