RANTIN: In the line of firefighting bravery

brantin@thestate.com (803) 771-8306July 16, 2014 

— Two Midlands firefighters recently received top honors for bravery from the South Carolina State Firefighters Association.

Trent Campbell of the Lexington County Fire Service and Rob Stewart of the Irmo Fire District were recognized last month during the annual Firefighters Association Fire/Rescue Conference in Myrtle Beach.

Campbell received the Meritorious Action Award, which recognizes firefighters who have rendered services beyond the ordinary course of duty to save a life while posing a risk to their own lives.

Campbell was recognized for his actions Nov. 15, 2013, when he responded to a mobile home fire where a victim was trapped.

Campbell arrived on a scene where he found heavy smoke and fire coming from the front door and windows of the home and heavy smoke coming from the rear.

After entering the home, he found a person lying face down in the hallway. He removed the victim from the home and started CPR until the person was taken to Lexington Medical Center and later to the Burn Center at Doctor’s Hospital in Augusta. The patient was later released from the Burn Center.

Campbell joined the Fire District in 2008 as a volunteer and was named a full-time employee in 2011.

“Trent is an exceptional firefighter who, on this day in November, put the needs of another above his own safety and saved a life,” said Lexington County Fire Service Chief Brad Cox.

Stewart received the Jeff Vaden Chavis Medal of Valor, named for Lexington County Firefighter Jeffrey Vaden Chavis, who died in the line of duty in 2001. It recognizes service above and beyond the call of duty and of an extraordinary nature while exposing a firefighter to extreme danger or results in the loss of life.

Stewart was recognized for his actions in the early morning of April 9, 2013, when he assisted a fellow crew member while fighting a fire.

As firefighters were making their way to a window to escape extreme heat from the second story of a burning structure, Stewart noticed that a crew member was missing. As others made their way down a ladder, he returned to the back of the apartment and crawled into the heat and flames to locate the missing crew member before getting the person to the window and onto the ladder.

“On numerous occasions, firefighter Stewart has publicly stated that he was just doing his job that night,” Irmo Fire District Assistant Chief John Hendricks said. “However, despite his humbleness, he truly directly saved the lives of his fellow firefighters. He put his own life and safety on the line so that his fellow fighters could go home that day to their families.”

Hats off to promoting heath

Gilbert High health science teacher Sharie Cato has received national recognition for promoting the development and progress of future health care leaders.

Cato recently received a regional Outstanding Service Award from the Health Occupations Students of America after claiming the statewide honor earlier this year.

The award is presented to a chapter adviser from each HOSA region who has made outstanding contributions at the local, regional, state and national levels by promoting the development and progress of future health care leaders.

Cato was selected from teachers from 18 states for the regional award, which was presented last month during the 2014 HOSA National Leadership Conference in Orlando.

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