911 Hero: 'Better than most adults'
FARMER, Feb 09, 2013 (The Courier-Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Farmer School fifth-grader Matthew Dixon handled himself like a grown-up when he awoke in the wee hours of the morning last week and found his grandmother unresponsive.
"Fate just really stepped in there, I think," said Capt. Sandy Smith, the 911 communications supervisor for Randolph County, on Wednesday.
Matthew was spending the night with his grandmother, Marjorie Meiers, because his mother, Lori Dixon, who is a nurse, was working the night shift. Meiers had had a stroke when he found her but Matthew didn't know that. The 11-year-old called an uncle then dialed 911.
Within minutes, emergency rescue personnel were on the scene, including Chief Tracy Boyles of the Farmer Fire Department.
"He was just calm and collected," Boyles said this week. "He was better than most adults are. He just did a good job."
Boyles said talking to students at Farmer School about what to do in emergencies is an annual thing during Fire Prevention Week.
"Sometimes you wonder if they ever take it in," he said. "It does show that some kids do take in what you tell them."
Farmer Principal Ross Reaves echoed Boyles' comments.
"Matthew is just a really great kid. He likes to have fun but in this situation he acted very mature and calm and did all the right things. He made great use of what he learned.
"We're just very proud of him. What he did took a lot of courage and he's just a hero in a lot of students' and a lot of faculty's eyes."
On the night of Jan. 28, 911 telecommuncator Kelly Story was walking Matthew through a list of things that needed to be done before help arrived for his grandmother. Before she told him to secure any pets at the residence, he asked if he should put the dogs up.
On Monday, Matthew was given The 9-1-1 Hero Award to commemorate "his quick and brave actions" during the medical emergency, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the Farmer Fire Department. Meiers, who is recuperating in a hospital, was not able to be there to see her grandson honored.
But Smith, Story, Boyles and other Farmer volunteers were on hand for the presentation, made during an awards assembly for the second nine-week grading period. Matthew was also recognized that morning for being on the Principal's List -- for students who earn all As.
It's been a few years since the Randolph County Department of Emergency Services presented one of the awards, which are reserved for youngsters, Smith said. Sometimes young people call 911 in situations involving domestic troubles, but rarely in medical emergencies, she said.
Matthew was surprised -- and a bit embarrassed -- by the special attention, Smith said. After the ceremony, a newspaper photographer, members of Matthew's family and school staff wanted to snap pictures of the young hero and those who'd come to honor him.
Finally, Matthew figured there had been enough photos, according to Smith.
"He said, 'Look, guys, they got fires they got to go put out,'" Smith said. "He was very humble about the whole thing."
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