When I think of Courage, I think of Radisson Dana. Radisson selflessly lost his life trying to rescue his beloved father from a burning house in 2012. The story began on a frosty November evening. Dwight Dana, a well-known local journalist was resting on his sofa in front of a roaring fire. His former wife came over to put eye drops into the Citadel Bulldog’s eyes. Dwight loved dogs and had several Citadel Bulldogs. Paula was the only person in the family that could administer the drops to the dog’s eyes. She finished the task, said “Goodbye, I love you” to her former husband and left his house for the last time. His last words were “I love you too”.
Paula and Dwight were the parents of triplets. Dwight often used his triplets as a source of fodder for his articles in local papers. The triplets grew up in Darlington, and the community frequently read about their latest antics in Dwight’s columns. Dwight’s articles enthralled the readers of local papers for many years. His column was the first thing many people read when they grabbed the daily Morning News or News and Press. His death left a big empty hole in local journalism.
Dwight lived in the old family home that he once occupied with his parents and sister. When he was divorced, he moved back in with his boys and the family dogs. The house was located less than a block from the Darlington Fire Station. There was a guest house in the back that one of his sons occupied at the time of the fire. The huge house was very old and built with heart pine. It dated to the late 1800’s. It had two stories with big porches across the front on both levels. On that fateful night, Dwight was lying on the couch in one of the lower front rooms, resting in front of a blazing fire. Old houses of that era had fireplaces in most rooms because that is the way they used to heat houses.
Dwight must have fallen asleep on the couch and a spark must have escaped the fireplace and set the house on fire. This is only conjecture and we will never know the truth. Radisson, who lived in the guest house, had returned from watching a ballgame with his brother in Hartsville, put on his pajamas and was watching TV and talking on the phone. He may have smelled smoke, he may have had an intuitive moment, we will never know. He quickly called the fire station to alert them and they warned him not to enter the house. He said he had to try to rescue his dad and entered the house anyway. They both perished that night along with all of their beloved pets who were in crates and could not escape. Radisson had courage, courage fueled by love. He threw away any concerns for his own safety and ran toward eternity along with his beloved father.