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Swamp Man: The man in the tall trees is more than meets the eye

Posted at 12:49 AM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 00:49:48-05

SUSSEX COUNTY, Va. -- Cat after cat. Tree after tree. Year after year.

Day or night, in bad weather or good, Swamp Man of Sussex County climbs trees, no matter how high, and rescues felines in distress  . . . and never charges a dime.

“I do cats for free,” Brian "Swamp Man" Carr said during a May 2015 rescue. “Because I’m an animal-lover. I’ve got five of my own.”

He’s a skydiver and a tree-worker who started climbing young, clearing power lines.

When skydivers find their expensive parachutes snagged high in the trees, who do they call?

Swamp Man.

When scary-tall trees need to be climbed, who do they call?

Swamp Man.


I first met him a year and a half ago while driving through the small town of Waverly. There was a knot of people standing in a yard, looking up into a 75-foot-tall willow oak. I stopped and saw the wiry, Spiderman-like rescuer pull Socks the orange menace out of the tiptop limbs and then rappel down like a circus performer. (Be sure to check out the video for that rescue and others.)

I also met and interviewed Socks' human sister, 18-year-old Destiny Buhls, that same day. She's 20 now.

Recently, Swamp Man found out Destiny has Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer and no health insurance. He called me, upset that this young woman was stuck in health crisis that he couldn't help her out of by him-self.

Swamp man and Mark

Swamp man and Mark

I found him holding a road sign on quite rural Beefsteak Road in Sussex County. Even though he's the foreman on an electrical line crew, he took the cold job of holding a traffic sign while his men worked themselves warm. (That's Swamp Man. As one of his crew said, "Even though he acts like a hard guy, he's really genuine, and (will) do anything for anybody.")

Swamp Man told me his heart broke when he went to the GoFundMe account set up by Destiny's mom and saw only $110 had been donated.

"It was kind of sad, man," he said. "I kind of felt bad for her . . . If we could get the word out and raise as much as we can for her, that would be great," he said.

I caught up with Destiny later that day. Doctors found a cancerous lymph node in her chest after she went to the hospital with a breathing problem. Her treatment plan is being worked out at VCU Medical Center.

Mark and Destiny

Mark and Destiny

Destiny admits to being a little scared. "A little. Not much. The doctor said it is curable."

As a part of the Month of Giving, CBS 6 decided to donate $500, with some help from Union Bank and Trust, to Destiny in Swamp Man’s name to help with her cancer treatment.

And it certainly helps having Swamp Man coming to the rescue - again. "He must have a good heart," she said. "God put him here for a reason."

If you would like to donate to Destiny’s GoFundMe page, click here.