CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two West Virginia Division of Corrections officers are being honored for saving a child’s life.
Governor Jim Justice’s Chief of Staff Mike Hall recognized Lt. Christopher Gillespie and Brenda Carney-Pfost Monday at the state Capitol for removing a child from the middle of the road last month on Route 119 in the Elkview-Pinch area of Kanawha County.
It happened on Aug. 23 at the intersection of Mark Road and Epicot Road. The two officers were returning to the Charleston Correctional Center after a training session when they encountered a child in the road.
“My partner got out of the vehicle while I stopped traffic and was able to get the child out of the roadway, calmed the child who was visibly distraught down and we conducted a medical assessment of the child right there while emergency services personnel were en route,” Gillespie said.
Carney-Pfost said patrolling the streets is not part of their job duty, but she knew she had to do the right thing.
“It was either us go get him or the child was going to die because there was no body else around to pick the child up,” she said.
Gillespie said anyone in their shoes would’ve done the same thing.
“I don’t really see that it’s anything more than what anyone should be expected to do, but I do appreciate the award,” he said. “We just happened to see it and respond.
The recognition by the Governor’s Office was unexpected, Carney-Pfost said.
“It was just something that you do as a mother,” she said.
Justice commended both officers for their hard work and dedication in a letter presented by Chief of Staff Mike Hall, state Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy and Acting Corrections Commissioner Loita Butcher.
In the letter to Carney-Pfost, Justice wrote, in part, “I know the family of the child appreciates everything you did to assist their child. You went out of your way to be helpful and make the child feel safe and secure. Your empathy and compassion set you apart from the crowd.”
Gillespie’s letter from Justice read, in part, “By rising to this occasion, you show the world the amazing spirit of of West Virginia. As you know, we claim some of the friendliest and most kindhearted people around; and you are an excellent example of this incredibly important strong point.”