The Valdosta City Council recognized Lt. John Herpin of the Valdosta Fire Department for being selected as a recipient of the 2017 Life Saving Valor Award. The award, presented annually by the Georgia State Firefighters Association, is given to fire personnel who perform meritorious acts that result in life-saving events. Lt. Herpin was presented this award during the 2017 Georgia Fire Service Conference which was held in Athens, Georgia, in August.
In the early hours of April 21, Lt. Herpin and his crew on Engine 2 saved a child trapped in a structural fire. While responding to an unrelated call just two blocks away, Lt. Herpin and his crew received news of the structural fire and were able to respond quickly. As they prepared to enter the front door of the home, they heard the child calling for help.
“We train our entire lives to do this job,” Lt. Herpin said. “We prepare ourselves the best we can physically, emotionally, and mentally to handle anything that we’re faced with. So, when we got to the front door of the structure and we heard the child inside screaming for help, I turned to my crew and I had complete faith in them.”
Lt. Herpin told Firefighters Jamie Sapp and Nicholas Bishop, and Sgt. Isaac Harris to put the fire out while he searched for the child. Despite worsening conditions, Lt. Herpin was able to locate the bedroom the child was trapped in with a thermal energy camera. After entering, he closed the bedroom door behind him and immediately located a window. He opened the window, careful not to break any glass because the child was barefoot, and placed the child outside the window. After getting the child safely to the fire truck, Lt. Herpin reentered the apartment. He followed the hose line to rejoin his crew, who was still fighting the fire.
The child and his family were taken to SGMC for precautionary reasons but were not injured.
The child’s mother, Danielle Lewis, was especially grateful to meet Lt. Herpin face-to-face on Sept. 20. “While I was in the hospital, I kept thinking, ‘Who was he? Who was that man?’” Lewis said. “Because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have my son.”
Valdosta Fire Chief Freddie Broome said that he is honored to have brave firefighters like Lt. Herpin and all the members of the Valdosta Fire Department.
“The men and women of the Valdosta Fire Department accept the call of duty each and every day to protect and serve our community,” said Chief Broome. “The citizens of our community—like Ms. Lewis—are so glad they do.”
The City of Valdosta applauds Lt. Herpin for his heroic actions and for being recognized with the Georgia State Firefighters Association Life Saving Valor Award.