Archive for Thursday, April 28, 2005

Pint-sized hero

Bashor 6-year-old earns honor for quick action

April 28, 2005

Not all heroes wear capes or uniforms. In the case of Austin Ayers Wynn, a Basehor youth, sometimes they wear dinosaur T-shirts and Spiderman shoes.

Six-year-old Austin, a doe-eyed kindergartner at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, was honored April 18 during a 9-1-1 Heroes Awards Ceremony for his role in saving the life of his cousin, Amber.

The Mid America Regional Council sponsored the ceremony, which took place at the downtown Kansas City, Mo., Marriott, as a way to pay tribute to youths demonstrating knowledge and the proper use of the 9-1-1 emergency system.

Austin was one of only three children in the nine-county area to receive the honor. He received a T-shirt, plaque, medal, honorary police badge and other prizes for winning the award.

"I was happy," said Austin, which is about the most extensive comment that can be wrestled from the active youngster on the subject. It should also be noted that his remark was either due to modesty typical of heroes or because he was busy demonstrating somersaults on the living room floor.

"Look at this one," he said, while wearing a medal marked "I'm a 9-1-1-hero" and attempting a pretzel-like maneuver. "Ah, now I'm stuck."

"It was the first time he's ever been lost for words," said Austin's aunt, Lisa Wynn, while grinning at her nephew squirreling on the floor.

On Dec. 1, 2004, Austin was at home with Amber, who was baby-sitting an infant at the time. It was a normal day until about 11 a.m. when Austin walked into a room and saw that Amber, who has battled heart problems and encephalitis, was shaking uncontrollably from a seizure.

Austin, thinking back to school seminars on dialing 9-1-1 during emergencies, quickly called for help. He probably saved Amber's life and possibly the baby under her care, according to the Mid-America Regional Council.

"When first responders were on the scene they realized that the infant was under the patient that was having the seizure," said Annie Akehurst, MARC public safety outreach coordinator. "If it was not for Austin's heroic effort to place the 9-1-1 call, he may have lost his (cousin) and the infant that his cousin was baby-sitting."

9-1-1 dispatchers told Austin's family that he was very calm on the telephone. Other than calling the dispatcher "grandpa," Austin clearly relayed the situation to responders.

"They said they were really surprised Austin stayed as calm as he did on the telephone," Lisa Wynn said.

When paramedics arrived at the home, their entry was blocked by the family's cocker spaniel, Toby, who was standing sentry near the front door. The dispatcher asked Austin to put Toby downstairs, which he promptly did.

Problem solved, responders entered the home and went to work on Amber. At the hospital, doctors learned that Amber, who hadn't suffered a seizure in several years, was taking too low a dosage of her medication. The low dosage was determined to be the cause of the episode in December.

Family members said they are thankful that the seizure occurred while someone else was at home and that little Austin remembered past 9-1-1 lessons.

"He did quite a bit for us, for being only five years old at the time," said Austin's uncle, Roger Wynn.

Brenda De Groot, interim principal at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, said Austin's classmates in kindergarten gave him a rousing ovation when she told them of his exploit and showed off his medal.

Like the kindergartners, teachers and students at Glenwood Ridge have offered their congratulations as well, De Groot said.

"It's just amazing to me that he followed his instincts and was able to make the call," De Groot said. "You hear about things like that all the time, but it was pretty cool to know a student like that. Obviously, we're all very proud of him.

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