Seven-year-old Samantha (Sammie) Souther may not realize it, but the presentation of a ribbon, a plaque and a new bicycle was not the greatest reward she received Friday during a special ceremony.
A first-grader at Mayfield School, Samantha was honored as a “Community Hero” for saving her grandmother’s life.
At the first of December, the youngster was at home with her grandmother, Janice LaRue, and 2-year-old sister Lelecia. Her grandmother, who is having some serious medical treatments, became unresponsive and her granddaughter immediately called 911.
Emergency Medical Service personnel said if they had not been called in time, the young girl’s grandmother may have died.
Samatha’s uncle, Justin LaRue, said he and Sammie’s mother, Jessica, have taught her about using 911 since she was very young.
“She asked me after the incident if she had done the right thing. I told her, ‘you did great.’ ” He said he added if she ever sees anyone who needs help call 911.
Stan Clark of Bradley County EMS presented the Mayfield student with a ribbon and medal engraved with “Community Hero.” He also gave her a commemorative plaque. Bradley County EMS Director Danny Lawson also attended the ceremony.
Once that presentation was completed, the first-grader was surprised once again with a new bicycle from Scott’s Bicycle Center. Owner Doug Coulter and manager Josh Callahan were on hand to give her the bike.
Clark also conducted a program for the Mayfield students where he described the importance of calling 911 when help and assistance are needed. He later visited the Mayfield classrooms.
The EMS officer used Souther as an example.
“Her level-headedness and knowing what to do saved her grandmother’s life,” he said.
“We (the EMS) spend a lot of time visiting schools and educating children on safety and how to properly use 911,” Clark said. “It is great to see an example of everything working like it is supposed to. We have a great 911 system here in Cleveland and Bradley County.”
Friday’s presentation was a complete surprise to the first-grader, who would not leave her friends and come out onto the floor until her uncle was called into the gymnasium.
She had a stoic expression, until she was asked to smile with her new bicycle.