XENIA — Call it luck.
Maybe even say it was Divine Intervention.
But whatever it was, Xenia firefighter/paramedic Levi Dalton was in the right place at exactly the right time Feb. 8 and because of his quick thinking, the life of a little Warren County girl was saved.
For his actions, Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays declared Feb. 28 Levi Dalton Day in front of a council chamber packed with family, friends and colleagues.
An employee of Xenia Fire Division since May 2017, Dalton was on his way home that day after a class at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown. Nearing his Turtlecreek Township home, he noticed his neighbor, Will Long, frantically running outside with something in a blanket.
“He was screaming help me, she’s not breathing,” Dalton said.
Long was holding his 17-month-old daughter, Harper, who had accidentally hung herself while reaching for an electronic device behind the family’s couch. Dalton stopped in the middle of the street, ran to Long, grabbed the lifeless girl and performed the life-saving efforts he’s been trained to do. At the same time, he saw Warren County Deputy Sheriff Andrew Grossenbaugh, who was in the neighborhood for another reason, Dalton said.
Dalton flagged down the deputy and asked how far the medic was. When told the medic hadn’t left the station yet, Dalton hopped in the cruiser with Harper and they sped off to Atrium.
Harper survived — she went home from the hospital the next day — because of Dalton and the deputy. According to the girl’s mother, Maggie, had they waited for the medic the outcome would have been much different.
“I felt it was best to transport,” Dalton said.
Will Long said his plan was to just run outside, hoping someone would see or hear and be able to help.
“Levi and the officer took it to another level,” he said. “We’re just blessed.”
Dalton said didn’t really think about what he had done until after it was over.
“I was like wow, what just happened. Holy cow,” he said. “Timing was key. I’m humbled by what happened. Happy with the end result.”
Maggie Long believes it was more than just timing.
“Whoever put you in this profession did it for a reason, it is in your DNA,” she said while addressing Dalton and the crowd. “He and the others were put at the right place at the right time. It’s a miracle that it happened. He didn’t ever think about saving her life. He just did. We are forever grateful.”
Because of what happened, the fire division created the Charles Beason Award of Valor and presented it to Dalton at the meeting.
Beason, Xenia fire chief from 1977-1991, was “instrumental in growing our EMS program,” according to current Chief Ken Riggsby.
“Chief Beason was an asset to Xenia Fire Division and someone that I myself look up to as a mentor,” Riggsby added.
Making the story more amazing is that Harper’s 10-year-old brother, Aiden, was the first to see his sister in peril. When he realized he couldn’t help her, he ran and got their father, then grabbed his dad’s phone and called 911.
“For him to know to do that is just incredible,” Maggie Long said.
The Xenia Fire Division command staff with firefighter/paramedic Levi Dalton and family and Will and Maggie Long and family after a ceremony honoring Dalton for saving the life of 17-month-old Harper (being held by her father).
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.