Firefighter who rescued man from Spanish Town pit gets national awardMonday, October 18, 2021
Lance Corporal Dennis Taylor of the Jamaica Fire Brigade is hoping that his heroic exploit of pulling a possible murder victim from a 55-foot pit on Jones Avenue in Spanish Town will be used to inspire and influence others to do good.
Taylor received the Medal of Honour for Gallantry on Monday during the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentations of National Honours and Awards, which took place online this year because of COVID-19.
“I am extremely happy to be receiving this award. God has brought this upon me as a blessing. My mom, my kids, members of my organisation, they are all proud and I am just thankful I was able to do something wonderful and influence persons in a positive manner,” Taylor said.
On May 2, Taylor was a part of a unit from the Spanish Town Fire Station that responded to a call for assistance on Jones Avenue, where 66-year-old George Smart was thrown in the 55-foot pit by hoodlums.
Smart survived days in the hole before being rescued by the fire team, which was alerted by the police. Taylor was lowered into the hole, where he placed Smart in a harness and lifted him from the intended grave.
“I was very happy that I could be a part of helping to save a life,” Taylor said.
Constables Michael Beckford and Delano Dunn were also the recipients of the Medal of Honour. They were involved in the operation that killed the main suspect in the shooting deaths of three police officers on June 12 last year.
The suspect, Damion Hamilton reportedly fired on a group of officers in Horizon Park, Spanish Town and killed Superintendent Leon Clunis, Corporal Dane Biggs and Constable Decardo Hylton, while also injuring District Constable Lothan Richards.
Hamilton then fled to Coorville Gardens where he again injured another two police officers, with Constables Beckford and Dunn intervening to prevent further injury and possible deaths to the force. Beckford and Dunn were rewarded for this act of Bravery on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kyme Duncan received the Badge of Honour for Gallantry and Heroism after saving an elderly and physically impaired neighbour from a house that was on fire and filled with smoke.
Duncan said everyone had gotten out of the burning house on March 6, except the elderly man, who was the father of his friend.
According to Duncan, he rushed inside to find the elderly man and eventually found him huddled inside the kitchen. Duncan said he was assisted by his friend and son of the man in getting him out of the burning building.
He said the act was inspired by his sense of community. And, although being surprised, was happy to receive the award.
“I didn't expect to receive the Badge of Honour, but personally it's quite humbling.
“I did it because he is a part of my community and as a community, we all came together and we will do the same for each other. It's more of a testament to how we feel about each other in the community,” Duncan said.