FORT MILL — Second-graders at Gold Hill Elementary School thought they were just going to an assembly to learn about 911 on Wednesday afternoon. They thought someone would talk to them about emergency situations and how to handle them.
Little did they know, one of their own was being honored for her heroic actions last month.
Brie’ Ana Kendrick’s eighth birthday was one she’ll never forget. On the night of Oct. 28, her mother, Leslie, started choking.
“Boys and girls, you all can learn a lot from Brie’ Ana ,” said Gary Loflin, with York County 911.
Loflin told the story of how Brie’ Ana didn’t panic and called 911 and very carefully explained to the dispatcher what was going on. She was able to give her name, address and telephone number and explain her mother’s medical history and allergies.
She even tried to give her mother the Heimlich maneuver as instructed, despite her small stature, her mother said.
“I’m just so thankful that God put her in my life,” said Leslie Kendrick. “I’m just in awe of everything she did that night.”
During the surprise award presentation, people from 911 thanked Brie’ Ana for her help and for keeping cool under pressure.
Lisa Thompson, the 911 operator who spoke with Brie’ Ana on that night, teared up as she hugged her and told her she was the calmest 8-year old she’d ever met.
Thompson was one of a few first responders who were part of the incident that night on hand to give Brie’ Ana a hug and thank her for her efforts.
Gold Hill Elementary school counselor Jennifer Larson said that she was happy that other students could look to Brie’ Ana as an example of what to do in an emergency.
“We educate the kids about safety a lot,” she said. “It’s neat to extend that in the real world.”
As for Brie’ Ana, she talks about that night like it was just another evening. And she has advice for other people who might have to call 911 in an emergency.
“You should try to stay as calm as you can,” she said. “Answer their questions and if you’re a kid or a teenager, come with them (in the ambulance) to make sure they’re OK.”
Rachel Southmayd • 803-329-4072