• Community rallies behind Gaston County sergeant who is on life support

    By: Alexa Ashwell

    Updated:

    GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A local community is rallying around a police sergeant hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.

    According to his family, Sgt. Jim Abernethy is on life support at CaroMont Regional Medical Center. The 47-year-old suffered a heart attack at his home last Thursday.

    “We’re asking everyone to pray for a miracle,” said Tug Deason, a longtime friend of the sergeant. “We know that’s what doctors have said he needs.”

    Abernethy has been with the Stanley Police Department for approximately 18 years. He began his career in law enforcement as a CMPD officer in 1993.

    Abernethy has two children and two grandchildren.

    Stanley’s police chief was too emotional to talk on camera.

    “When you work in a small department, you’re more like family,” the chief said over the phone. “Jim is loved by the community and has never met a stranger.”

    The chief described Abernethy as a compassionate person.

    Those who know Abernethy said he’s had heart trouble in the past and recently became supervisor of the school resource officer program, following open-heart surgery last year.

    “My daughter goes to one of the schools where he’s the SRO,” said Stanley Councilwoman Kerry Hart.  “We talked with them a little bit and told them to pray for Sgt. Abernethy.”

    Hart said that when the sergeant isn’t on duty, he’s likely volunteering with a team or taking photographs of any activity happening in the close-knit town.

    “He’s always just very involved,” said Hart. “Keep him and his family in your prayers. He has children and grandchildren. He’s very loved by the community.”

    Family said doctors may try to take Abernethy off life support Tuesday. 

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