Firefighters, dispatcher honored for service

  • Recipients of Lifesaver Awards for extricating a victim from a mobile home destroyed by a tornado are (right to left) Rebecca Elmore, Assistant Chief Jimmy Dyson, Tyler Handberry, Cheyenne Jackson, Kevin Peachy, Josh Delk and Chief Jessie Elmore. Not pictured is Patrick Felder.
  • Awarded for their efforts to resuscitate a 5-year-old child are (left to right) Blake Towne, Chief Jessie Elmore, Gibby Sanders Sr. and Josh Croft. Not pictured are T.J. Brown and 911 Dispatcher Lauren Sims. Also pictured are Jerrica Hay, mom, and Madison Hay-Brown, sister of the victim Ja’Erika Brown who was unable to attend the awards ceremony.
  • Captain Charles “Chuck” Delk of the Barnwell Rural Fire Department was presented with the “Firefighter of the Year” award. Delk was voted for the honor by members of the Barnwell Rural Fire Department.

Twelve firefighters and one dispatcher were honored Friday evening, Nov. 3 by the Barnwell Rural Fire Department.

The firefighters and dispatcher were each presented with a “Lifesaving Award for Exceptional and Outstanding Actions”. Additionally, one firefighter was presented the “Firefighter of the Year” award.

According to Barnwell County Fire Coordinator Timbo Williams, “on January 21, Station 11 was dispatched to a First Responder call on Reynolds Road. While on the scene, Blackville received a call of multiple trees down across the highway at the State Park with several vehicles involved.”

“Once District 11 cleared, Chief Jessie Elmore asked Blackville Fire Chief Hariel Corley if he would like District 11 to come from the Barnwell side and assist them. En route they started encountering trees across the road and Chief Elmore was maneuvering around them. Firefighter Rebecca Elmore, who was riding with him, asked why there was a lady in the yard, waving them down,” said Williams.

Upon entering the yard they encountered the remains of a mobile home that was destroyed by a tornado.

“Chief Elmore immediately determined from the lady that her neighbor was still trapped inside. The service truck with Cheyenne Jackson and Tyler Handberry was following Chief Elmore and was immediately on scene,” said Williams.

He said Firefighter Rebecca Elmore determined the victim’s location and Engineer Cheyenne Jackson entered to start assessing the victim and how to remove her. Firefighter Tyler Handberry, Lieutenant Patrick Felder and Blackville Firefighter Kevin Peachy began gathering equipment for extricating the victim.

Assistant Chief Jimmy Dyson remained on the highway with the equipment and began opening an access to get EMS in and out. Firefighter Josh Delk arrived and assisted with getting the victim out.

Four weeks later the firefighters were again called to a life-threatening incident.

Williams related that on February 24 the Snelling Fire Department was dispatched to a non-breathing 5-year-old. Chief Elmore, who lives a mile and a half from the residence, responded to assist.

While he was halfway to the scene, 911 Operator Lauren Simms advised him that CPR was in progress.

“Chief Elmore arrived to find the child on the couch with Lauren attempting to advise the child’s grandmother on how to perform CPR. Chief Elmore advised Lauren he was taking over. Chief Elmore moved the child to the floor and began CPR,” said Williams.

He said Engineer Blake Towne arrived and assisted with care. “Snelling Firefighter Josh Croft arrived with an AED and Firefighter Gibby Sanders remained at the highway to direct responders in. Barnwell Engineer T.J. Brown arrived and assisted with care and continued to assist with EMS in the ambulance.”

The victim, Ja’Erika Hay-Brown, was revived and recovered. She was sick the night of the awards presentations but her mother Jerrica Hay and sister Madison Hay-Brown attended to thank the rescuers.

Presented with plaques were Chief Jessie Elmore, Assistant Chief Jimmy Dyson, Lt. Patrick Felder, Engineers Cheyenne Jackson and Blake Towne, Firefighters Rebecca Elmore, Tyler Handberry, Kevin Peachy, Josh Delk, Gibby Sanders Sr., Josh Croft, T.J. Brown and 911 Dispatcher Lauren Sims.

Presented with the “Firefighter of the Year Award” was Captain Charles “Chuck” Delk.

Delk has been with the fire service since 1991, volunteering for both the Hilda and Barnwell Rural fire departments.

This award is one which is voted upon by members of Barnwell Rural Fire Department.