Heroic actions honored in Chesterfield
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Oct 9, 2013, 15:22
Fire, Police and EMS responders were awarded for their involvement in the rescue of a man who had gone into cardiac arrest.
CHESTERFIELD — A sea of awards weighed down on the tables at the front of the room, as faces gazed onward from their seats waiting to hear what story each one had to tell.
On March 8, Chesterfield police and fire units were dispatched to Wood’s Edge Road on Interstate 95 after receiving reports of a pedestrian who had been hit by a vehicle. When they arrived at the scene, the victim could be seen sprinting down the road towards the overpass that reached out high over the interstate, eventually falling over the barrier above a rushing stream of screaming cars and trucks below. As a plummet from the bridge seemed near, police Sgt. Michael Young reached over the barrier and grabbed the individual. With the immediate assistance from Lt. Bryce Ford and firefighter Alexander Carter, they hoisted the person back over the barrier and into safety.
“Had it not been for the immediate action of Sergeant Young, Lieutenant Ford and firefighter Carter, this person would have fallen 40 plus feet into heavy traffic on the southbound lanes of I-95,” said David Tesh, volunteer recruiter for Chesterfield Fire and Rescue, commending their actions with a Lifesave Award.
On a Friday evening in July, a 7-year-old Chesterfield boy, Tripp Harris, asked his mother why the room was getting dark, an inquiry that quickly turned into a realization that the kitchen stove was on fire. Tripp’s mother said the situation spiraled out of control rapidly and she began to panic. The room was filling up with smoke clouding their vision and clogging their lungs. In the midst of emergency, it was Tripp who remained calm and collected, urging his mother that they needed to evacuate the house immediately. He then dropped to the floor on all fours to avoid the heavy, billowing smoke, where he grasped his mother’s leg and motioned her toward the door. After they escaped the house, Tripp told his mother they needed to get as far away from the house as possible and await the arrival of the fire department. By the time emergency responders had arrived, Tripp and his mother were safely standing in the driveway, and the responders were able to stop the fire and minimize the damage done to the kitchen. Tripp learned how to react to the fire through the Child Fire Safety and Education program established and taught by the Chesterfield Fire and EMS.
“The fact Tripp remained calm and remembered his training made a positive outcome for him and his mother and saved both of their lives,” Tesh said, as he awarded the young boy with a Lifesave Award for his display of confidence and heroism.
The Chesterfield Fire and EMS Honor Guard administered the Presentation of the Colors at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday night.
Earlier this year, a group of firefighters and EMS responders helped resuscitate and revitalize a person who had stopped breathing after what was believed to be a near-fatal drug overdose.
These are just a few of the inspiring narratives that were recounted to an audience of hundreds on Tuesday night in Chesterfield, where more than 80 firefighters, EMS responders, policemen and citizens from the Chesterfield community were awarded for their acts of bravery and selflessness in the past year, in addition to honoring the countless others who gave their lives in duty during an awards ceremony at the Victory Tabernacle Church of God.
The Enon Volunteer Fire Department took home their tenth consecutive award for the volunteer company of the year.
Chesterfield County Administrator James Stegmaier expressed a deep gratitude for those individuals who risk their lives every day to provide safety and emergency assistance for the community, the true definition of what he considers a hero.
“A young person should never have to look any further than across the kitchen table to see an example of a hero. In this time of changing values, ‘anything goes’ and ‘me-first’ attitudes and behaviors, at least we know that the families of the men and women that we’re honoring here tonight can indeed look across the kitchen table and see a hero,” Stegmaier said during the ceremony. “We’re a better, safer, healthier community because of what you do, and here in Chesterfield County, we understand heroes don’t wear capes. They don’t wear football uniforms. They don’t wear tuxedos or beautiful gowns walking down the red carpet at some awards ceremony. Our heroes wear communication headsets, turnout gear and badges.”
Stegmaier’s heroes packed the seats at the Victory Tabernacle Church, humbly accepting their specific awards and bowing their heads in honorable silence for the fallen firefighters who were not so fortunate as to join the rest of the audience and their families on Tuesday night.
Chesterfield Fire Chief Edward Senter, who has served with Chesterfield for five years, said that these community officers who are not pining for trophies or heroic accolades, instead acting in response to a daily calling and occupational duty to serve the protection and care of Chesterfield, must still be acknowledged for their courageous dedication.
BLAKE BELDEN/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Fire Boat 6 with the Enon Volunteer Fire Department was awarded for locating, securing and towing a stranded, powerless boat that posed a potential threat on a foggy day with low visibility.
“We think it’s important to do this each year to recognize, [although] we can’t recognize all of those incidents because truly there are acts of heroism every day, but the ones that really come to the surface each year. We try to recognize those here at this event. This also allows us to profile the excellent services and the professionalism of our members to the community,” Senter said.
The ceremony was followed by a reception in the church’s lobby where food and refreshments were offered to attendees.