By Flonzie Brown-Wright
Special to The Mississippi Link
The Mississippi Burn Foundation recently honored outstanding firefighters for exemplary job performance in 2015-2016.
Top firefighters and fire departments were recognized during “Hearts for Heroes,” a special awards gala presented by the Joseph M. Still Burn Centers, Inc. Event sponsors included Merit Health Central, Southern Pine Electric Power Association, McClain Lodge, Capital City Beverages, Southern Beverage Company, E&J Gallo Winery, and Soirée, LLC ~ Event Planning & Public Relations.
Held at McClain Lodge in Brandon, the event featured cocktails, a seated dinner and live music by songwriter and firefighter Shannon Sandridge accompanied by Matt Ellis and Rob Lehman.
Finalists and winners received awards sponsored by Colonial Pipeline and Emergency Equipment Professionals.
Nominations were received from across the state in the following categories – Fire Chief of the Year, Fire Officer of the Year, Firefighter of the Year and Fire Department of the Year. Firefighter of the Year nominees in this category must have demonstrated heroic services beyond the call of duty.
Firefighter Ben Haskins of the Monterey Fire Department was selected as finalist. The 2015-2016 Firefighter of the Year was awarded to Lieutenant Elliot Benson, RDO Kory Haggard and Captain Corey Landrum of the Jackson Fire Department.
With four years of service at Monterey, Haskins is also certified as an emergency medical responder, a firefighter-I, II; and trained in hazardous materials awareness and ops. While on duty in March 2015, Haskins was responding to an emergency call in a fire apparatus. A white four door vehicle crossed into his lane forcing the fire apparatus off the road. He was trapped in the fire truck. Once he was extricate from the vehicle, he was airlifted with life-threatening injuries to University of Mississippi Medical Center. He was later flown to Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., a hospital that specializes in traumatic brain injuries. Haskins recovered quickly in only a few short months. Haskins is also a serviceman and serves our country in the Mississippi Army National Guard.
Every fire deserves a quick and professional response and on Oct. 24, 2015, that is just what happened. Jackson Fire Department Rescue 14 was dispatched to an apartment fire on Robinson Road. Upon arrival, Rescue 14 reported heavy smoke coming from the lower unit of the building and advanced the door. Neighbors advised Rescue 14 that the occupant of the apartment was still inside, so Captain Landrum and RDO Haggard made the initial push into the front door, knocking down the fire while a primary search began. During the search Landrum located a patient asleep on the couch. The patient was lethargic when found and Landrum and Haggard worked together to remove the patient from the house safely. Once removed from the house, Benson placed the patient on oxygen. Landrum and Haggard went back to finish the interior attack of the apartment fire while Benson and AMR provided care for the patient on the scene until he became responsive and was later released.