Kiwanis club honoring Firefighters who saved boy from November housefire
KENNEWICK, Wash. — First responders put their lives on the line every day and rarely get the praise they deserve.
But Tuesday was different.
The Kiwanis Club of Kennewick honored their area's first responders, including the firefighters who resuscitated a toddler after saving him from his burning home last November.
Not only were the first responders at Tuesday's special ceremony: toddler, Dominic Stith and his parents were there too.
They said it feels important to support for the heroes who saved their son's life.
Kennewick Fire Captain Tim Harkins said they don't do their job with the expectation of 'Thanks', so when it comes, it catches them off guard.
“It was a little bit uncomfortable for me," he laughed. "It’s kind of stressful.”
But, he said, it's definitely deserved,
“They did an outstanding job," Harkins continued. "I really feel that their story needs to get out there, so people in the community recognize the effort and dedication these guys have.”
The Captain said on the night of the fire, they were just doing their job.
But after the fact he'll admit he was worried about his crew.
“There was a large weight lifted off my shoulders when we exited the building," Harkins said.
Firefighter Tony Jorgensen said getting Dominic out of the burning building was only half the battle.
“We still had to resuscitate him," Jorgensen said, gesturing to another man from his crew. "Mason and I checked for pulses really quick and we didn’t find one so we started CPR.”
“When he started breathing again it was indescribable," recounted Harkins.
Firefighter Mason Osborn was also there that night.
“Passing him off to the hospital staff with him crying and screaming, it’s a unique feeling,” Osborn said.
Capt. Harkins said there's an attachment between his crew and Dominic now.
Dominic's mom, Melissa Stith, said she struggles to explain how much gratitude she has for what they did for her son.
“They saved him,” she gasped after a pause.
Melissa's husband, Richard Stith, agreed.
“To me they’re part of the family now," Richard said. "They gave us a life back. They’re always going to be in my heart.”
Richard Stith said he contacted a company called Firedex and told them their story, and now they're donating a new Fire Hood to each of the Firefighters that saved Dominic.
He said it was the least he could do, and is encouraging folks to throw a dollar into the boot next time they see the guys around town on the Stair-climber.
"Do it for Dominic," he said.