Caption: North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey presents one of the Save Awards. (Catharin Shepard photo)
By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
Four Hoke County firefighters jumped into action last month to save the life of a 14-month-old baby when the little boy choked on a penny.
Firefighters Lt. Billy Fuchs, Will Overton, Bryan Dubois and Marshall Jackson of Puppy Creek Fire Department performed lifesaving measures on Karter Stroud, the infant son of Katherine Stroud of Hoke County, according to reports.
When Stroud found her baby unresponsive and not breathing, she called 911. Firefighters from Puppy Creek met her outside her home, with the mother running to them with her son in her arms, reports said.
Puppy Creek Fire Department Chief John Joseph was there on the scene as the four firefighters worked to save the baby’s life. The baby had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, and had turned gray, the chief recalled.
“That child was lifeless when they arrived,” Joseph said.
The ambulance was five to seven minutes away, and time was of the essence. The firefighters performed lifesaving measures until Karter began breathing again.
“When the ambulance arrived, these guys had already restored respiration,” Joseph said.
Paramedics rushed the infant to the hospital. Thanks to the first responders’ quick response, Karter survived and was able to go home from the hospital the same day, officials said.
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey visited Puppy Creek Fire Department last week to honor the firefighters’ lifesaving actions. Causey presented the four firefighters with the Save Award, which goes to individuals or organizations that go above and beyond the call of duty to save lives. The firefighters also received recognition from Puppy Creek Fire Department.
Local elected officials including Hoke County Commissioners, State Rep. Garland Pierce and others attended the ceremony.
“This is a big day in the life of Puppy Creek Fire Department, and it’s a really big day in the life of some of our firefighters,” Joseph said in remarks.
Causey said he attempts every day to recognize the contributions of first responders.
“These men and women put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t hear some story about somebody having a heart attack, and because the local fire department, the volunteer fire department was so quick to get out there, they saved somebody’s life,” he said. “This is a case with a child. It teaches all of us to be very alert and be aware of your surroundings and not leave anything around a small child that they could put in their mouth, even a penny. Even something as innocent as a penny laying around on the floor could be a choking hazard and cause the death of a child.”
Especially in rural areas, fire departments serve a vital role, Causey said. Causey himself grew up in a rural community where dirt roads were common and firefighters were often the first on the scene at any life-threatening scenario.
“The volunteer fire department is the hub of the community, it’s the center and the hub. The volunteer fire departments are right there with the church in terms of community involvement and community activity, and we depend on our volunteer firefighters. If not for our volunteers, we would be in deep trouble,” Causey said.
Joseph thanked Causey and his office for honoring the firefighters. The firefighters and their families present enjoyed a catered lunch following the ceremony.