The youngest member of the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company to receive the company's Edgar M. Williams Lifesaving Award on Saturday is an 11-year-old cadet who saved his infant sister's life by applying techniques to save her from choking, techniques he had learned through the cadet program weeks before.
The award was presented to Brendon Knopp-Hall of Joppatowne during the fire company's 59th Annual Installation of Officers, followed by the company's annual banquet and awards ceremony.
Brendon was among a host of fire company members who received the Lifesaving Award Saturday, one of a series of awards given out.
He joined the company's cadet program in October 2013 and did his heroic deed on Dec. 11, according to his parents, who also attended the banquet. He is in sixth grade at Magnolia Middle School.
Fred Causey, who is in charge of the cadet program, said it is open to young people ages 10 to 16. They learn basic firefighting skills, as well as CPR and First Aid, which includes rescuing choking victims.
Brendon was home with his sister, Miranda, now eight months old, father John Hall Jr. and grandmother-in-law, when he heard his sister choking. Brendon's mother, Danielle, was at work.
He pounded his sister on the back, which freed the object from her airway; it is the standard method of saving infants from choking.
"I just know she was choking," Brendon recalled. "I started hitting her on the back."
He added: "Whatever she was choking on came out."
Brendon's father said he was upstairs and heard him screaming for help. By the time he got downstairs, Brendon had dislodged the object.
"It's one of those things where she wasn't far from leaving us," John Hall said.
He said his daughter is healthy today.
"Today she's playful, joyful, Brendon's her best friend," he said.
The Lifesaver Award is given to fire company members who save a patient through CPR or "other medical interventions," Lewis Brown, company historian, said after the banquet.
Company volunteers were recognized for saving lives during about 10 incidents during 2013, and about 85 individual awards were given out, Brown said.
Brown said Edgar Williams was a life member and charter member of Joppa-Magnolia and started the company's ambulance service with fellow member William "Doc" McShane, and was recognized at the state level for using CPR "in the days when CPR was brand new."
'Action packed year'
Fire Chief Ryan Barrow described 2013 as an "action packed year" in the banquet program, with 33 working fires, 1,633 "fire suppression" calls and 3,972 EMS calls.
A variety of other awards were given to firefighters, EMS staff, cadets and members of the ladies auxiliary during Saturday's banquet.
The top fire responders for 2013 were D'Angelo Holmes, with 854 calls answered, Bill Vanarsdale Jr. with 485, Mark Hofmann with 479, Tyler Colvin with 456, Fred Causey Sr. with 454, Ian Williams with 416, John Terrell with 399, Greg Hanslik with 370, Austin Daniels with 351 and Jason Freund with 338.