VANDALIA - Heroes come in all sizes and all ages, and on Friday two of Vandalia’s young heroes were honored by Fire Chief Chad Follick.
Wyatt Abney, 8, and Matthew Wolf, 9, were presented with Medals of Honor by Follick at Demmitt Elementary School prior to the school’s Passport to Safety closing ceremony. Both boys credited the Passport to Safety program with teaching them what to do in an emergency.
Abney was spending the day with his grandmother last month when she fell and was injured. The boy immediately called 911 and his calmness while on the phone with the dispatcher.
Wolf was having lunch with his grandmother and his little sister at the Vandalia McDonald’s on National Road. While in the picnic area outside the restaurant, his grandmother began to feel ill and eventually passed out for over a minute.
“Both of these young men were able to activate the 911 system and be of great aid to their grandmothers and our 911 system in getting assistance to their family member,” said Follick. “Both were able to give good information at the scene.”
Wolf went inside the restaurant and asked store management to call 911 and then stayed with her until medic units arrived on the scene.
“I needed to go find somebody to help so she doesn’t just keep laying down in the ground,” Matthew explained.
After the incidents, fire personnel asked both boys how they knew to remain so calm, cool, and collected in the emergency situations, and both indicated they had been to Passport to Safety.
Passport to Safety is a program for incoming kindergartners in the Vandalia-Butler City Schools that gives essential life safety training education. Students are taught about stranger awareness, bus safety, what to do in a fire, water safety, and pet safety by personnel from the Vandalia and Butler Township fire and police departments, First Student, Vandalia Parks and Recreation, and Dixie Veterinarian Clinic.
Follick said that in any emergency situation, early notification of emergency personnel is crucial to preventing, reducing, or treating injuries to individuals in an emergency and also contributes to reducing property loss.
“Early notification starts with the customer,” said Follick. “Teaching the youngest of our customers how to properly activate the 911 system has proven over and over again to pay off. Passport to Safety has been going on for over 30 years now and has produced remarkable out comes, and these two young men are part of that history now.”