MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - Marshall, Texas, Fire Department is being honored for its efforts to help save a 3-year-girl from drowning.
Haden Heath, now four years old, was found at the bottom of the family pool during a cookout the afternoon of June 5, 2016.
Heath's aunt Kimberly Jeans said she, her son and a family friend who is a Harrison County sheriff's deputy dove in to get Heath out.
The child was blue in the face and not breathing when the deputy, Matt Cooper, surfaced with Heath, Jeans said.
Heath's uncle and MFD Battalion Chief Randall Jeans immediately began CPR while other family members called 911.
After six to eight minutes, Jeans said, the girl began coughing and trying to breathe.
Marshall EMS crews arrived and rushed her to the hospital.
By the time family members arrived at the emergency room, her aunt recalled, Heath's eyes were open and she was breathing on her own.
At an award ceremony at MFD headquarters Thursday afternoon, Jeans described seeing the entire ordeal in horrifying slow motion.
"Everyone turned their head and we were all there and there was nothing we could do about it," she said.
Battalion Chief Jeans said his and his colleagues' training kicked into gear to save Heath's life.
"My EMS Crew responded so rapidly. We were able to get her to the hospital," he said. "The training that we all had worked out, obviously, for the best because we've got Haden still."
Now the Fire Department is being awarded the 2017 Texas EMS for Children State Partnership Crew of the Year Award by the Emergency Medical Services for Children State Partnership.
EMSC is a statewide collaborative funded through the Health Resource and Services Administration's EMS for Children program that works to improve education, research and pediatric pre-hospital care.
EMSC Project Manager Joseph Santos told a gathered crowd at MFD headquarters said theirs is the only federally-funded that is specifically dedicated to addressing pediatric emergency care housed at the Baylor University College of Medicine.
Jeans nominated MFD for the award and, out of 750 Texas EMS agencies and 16 nominations, Santos presented the award to MFD.
"I can honestly say these are my heroes every day,' MFD Chief Reginald Cooper said during the ceremony.
Thanks to these responders, Heath's family says she has completely recovered both physically and mentally from her near-drowning and she now only remember the moment that almost took her life as simply taking a nap.
"Just waked up," Heath told KSLA.