HOUSTON – Steve Duncan was so glad to be at Thursday’s Houston Volunteer Fire Department Annual Awards Banquet.
Duncan, 44, passed out at his father’s shop on Okolona Cutoff on Nov. 7 and the Houston Fire Department and local EMTs revived him and transported him to Trace Regional Hospital. He was later taken to Northeast Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.
“You don’t know how glad I am to be here,” said Duncan. “I was on that floor 11 minutes and those guys brought me back.
“I am so thankful,” he added. “I owe these people my life.”
Duncan’s wife, Teresa, pointed out the couple recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. She too, thanked local emergency crews for their effort.
Captain Jonathan Blankenship of the Houston Fire Department said it was a team effort and said a number of things came together to give this call a happy ending.
“We got the call as a seizure and when we got there he had no pulse and he wasn’t breathing,” said Blankenship. “We immediately started CPR and when the EMTs got there they shocked him and got a pulse.
“I’ve been in this business 20 years and this is the first time I have done CPR that long and been successful,” said Blankenship. “It really was a miracle.”
Blankenship said he vividly remembers cars pulling off the road on their way to the call.
“It wasn’t just me, it was a lot of things that came together,” said Blankenship. “The firefighters who responded, the EMTs and the folks at Trace emergency room all played a part.”
Duncan said he has been humbled by the experience and is basically none the worse for wear.
“It’s a job we do a lot of days,” said Blankenship. “I’m glad it turned out the way it did.”
The Houston Volunteer Fire Department honored firefighters with a steak supper and several plaques at its 2013 annual awards banquet Thursday night.
Robert L. Goza was named 2013 Firefighter of the Year for his 50-years of service to the department.
“I want to thank my wife for supporting me in this,” said Goza. “We live here and we believe in supporting this community.
“I will continue to respond and man that pumper when the call goes out,” said Goza. “The plaque says 50 years and continuing. I hope that is the case for a lot more years to come.”
Houston Volunteer Fire Chief Curt Jernigan said every firefighter votes on the Firefighter of the Year.
“He is trained, he responds and he is someone we all can count on,” said Jernigan. “Fifty years in this business is a long time and this community and this department owes this man so much.”
Jernigan said he was pleased with the progress the department has made in training in 2013 and said the acquisition of a new fire truck and the construction of a new county equipment shop are big new for the department.
Other 2013 Houston Volunteer Fire Department award winners were:
This award is give on the firefighters who respond to the most non-medical calls each year.
1) Bobby Sanderson 53-percent
2) Linda Griffin 51-percent
3) Bruce Burkeen 49-percent
4) Robert Goza 43-percent
5) Jonathan Blankenship 32-percent
This award is given to the firefighters who repond to the most non-medical calls between 10 p.m. And 6 a.m. There were 30 calls classifed at Cold Sheets in 2013.
1) Bruce Burkeen 63-percent
2) Bobby Sanderson 60-percent
3) Curtis Jernigan 53-percent
Star of Life
This award is given to the firefighter who responds to the most medical calls each year.
1) Linda Griffin 35-percent
20-year Service Award:
From December 2012 to November 2013 the Houston Volunteer Fire Department responded to 534 calls with 361 of those being medical calls.