When a person's oxygen supply is cut off, rescuers have only a few minutes to bring the person back before irreversible damage is done.
In Tom Hall's case, those golden minutes were in play on Valentine's Day 2012 as he lay trapped under the tractor he had just been working on at a Whiteford repair shop.
One of his co-workers happened to be Kyle Harrington, a Whiteford volunteer firefighter. Harrington saw what had happened and performed CPR on Hall after the tractor was taken off him.
Harrington successfully revived Hall, who was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for treatment. Hall has since recovered and attended the Whiteford Volunteer Fire Company's annual banquet Saturday to celebrate with Harrington and other Whiteford personnel who responded to the scene.
"We had a really good crew that day, and I really should had died, and I'm thankful to all of you," Hall told company members who gathered in the Whiteford firehouse with their families.
He said later that Harrington's actions were "really, really important to me being here today."
The company's Lifesaving Award was presented to Harrington Saturday.
Whiteford leaders recognized several other members – and non-members – who provide vital support services to the company, including EMS Lt. Marianna Adams, who also stocks the fire station kitchen and cooks for her fellow fire and EMS personnel; Kati and Lorenzo Mannino, owners of the firehouse's neighbor on Route 165 (Pylesville Road), Buon Gusto Pizzeria & Grill, who provide food to personnel on fire and accident scenes, and founding members Elvara and Tom Petty.
The Pettys were among the members of the Whiteford community who helped found the fire company in 1997, bringing in many veterans who had been part of the Delta-Cardiff Volunteer Fire Company, just north of the Pennsylvania line.
The Pettys have spent the past decade and a half cooking for Whiteford personnel, setting up for events, helping with fundraising and many more tasks.
"I enjoyed doing the dinners for the people because they enjoyed eating it," Elvara said.
"She was the cook and I was the helper," Tom added.
The couple have said they plan to cut back their workload for the company, but will be available if needed.
"We're still going to be here, help out all we can," Tom said.
The company also honored those who stood by in the firehouse for several days last November as Superstorm Sandy struck the Mid-Atlantic coast.
Rusty Leftwich, the former deputy chief who was emcee of Saturday's banquet, said company personnel spent 588 "man hours" in the firehouse during Sandy.
Chuck Mohr, the fire company treasurer, was also honored for his administrative work with the company.
People of the year
Lt. Drew Pritt was Whiteford's EMS Worker of the Year for 2012; the EMS Rookie of the Year was Kyle Sizemore.
Chris Niner was the Firefighter of the Year – he was not at Saturday's banquet to receive his award because he was out of town.
Top fire responders
The top fire responders for 2012 were Company President Larry Holbrook with 173 calls; Janet Holbrook with 156; Lt. Drew Pritt with 124; Mike Laslo with 112; Ronnie Barben with 103; Justin Roberts with 102; Suppression Chief Matt Barben with 100; Lt. Joe Davis with 98; Jason Mills with 97; and John Williamson Sr. and Zach Adams, both with 92.
Top EMS responders
The top EMS responders for 2012 were Justin Roberts with 192 calls; Zach Adams with 166; Drew Pritt with 150; Assistant EMS Chief Cort Adams with 132; Joe Davis with 93; Marcia Barben with 80; Kyle Sizemore with 64; Lt. Lindsay Leedy with 62; Matt Barben with 47 and Lt. Marianna Adams with 36.
Length of service
Many company personnel were honored for their years of service Saturday, whether they were 50 years or five.
Awards for five years of service went to John Bosley, Sissy and Billy Buecker, Megan Cochran, Joe Davis, Mike Galbreath, Brian Ireton, Michele Limmer, Ryan Mohr, Deputy Chief Jason Porrovicchio, Jen Porrovicchio, Zach Price, Drew Pritt, Justin Seaman, Justin Roberts, Capt. Wes Roberts, Heather Schueler, Amanda Shay, Tyler Smith, Jamie Thresher, Mary Ellen Wiley, Laura and Ted Wooden, Dee Parthee, Cort and Marianna Adams and Sierra Hines.
Awards for 10 years were presented to Gerry Bohdel, Mike Huneke, Greg Leftwich, Charlie Martin, Jackie Monath, Chris Niner, Steve Solle, Tyler Vass, Kim Williams, John Williamson Jr., Brandon Krick, Jimmy Williams, Jason Mills and Capt. Chris Shay.
Awards for 15 years went to Chad Barben, board member Tina Barben, Marcia Barben, Kim Dunham, Janet Holbrook, John Monath, Josh Schueler, Kathy Monath, Laura Lynn Solle, Brent Williams, R.E. Williams, Jon Wright and Pat Krick.
Awards for 20 years were presented to Matt and Steve Barben, Todd Dousa, Rich Dunham, Diane Flint, Derek Hopkins, Bryan Isaacs, EMS Capt. Sam Sheets and Safety Officer George Dorbert.
Twenty-five-year winners included Chuck Mohr, Heather Williamson, John Williamson Sr., Charlie Tarbet and Howard Roberts.
Awards for 30 years went to board Vice President Dan Lemmon and Jeff Petty; 35-year awards went to Mike Davis, Don Galbreath, Frank Krick, Rick Enfield and Richard Roberts.
Awards for 40 years went to board member Danny Barben, Billy Buecker Sr., Dean Colvin, Larry Holbrook and Rusty Leftwich.
Board member Ronnie Barben and Jimmy Robert "Fuzzy" Williams were recognized for 45 years, and Charlie Barben, Paul Miller, Donnie Williams and J. Richard Williams were recognized for 50 years of service.
Company members recognized for their time on standby during Sandy included Marcia Barben with 48 hours; Tom Wagner with 48; Derek Hopkins and Matt Little, both with 39; Charlie Martin with 37; Chris Shay with 36; Cort Adams with 32; Rusty Leftwich with 29; Lindsay Leedy with 27; Dan Lemmon with 26; Zach Adams, Joe Davis, Justin Roberts, Mike Karrman and Kyle Harrington, all with 24; Chris Niner with 18; Justin Seaman with 17; Matt Barben with 15; Marianna Adams and Wes Roberts, both with 12; Janet and Larry Holbrook, both with nine; and Chad Barben and John Monath, both with seven.