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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
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Feb. 18 - 200 Hundred Club Salutes Fire and Police Department Heroes from the Coastal Empire February 25

Deputy Michael Johns and Deputy Robert Francisco of the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office and Captain Paul Phillips and Firefighter Brian Stafford of the Savannah Fire Department have been selected by a committee of Law Enforcement and Fire Command Officers from nominations from all 20 counties supported by The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire. They will be honored the evening of February 25th at the Charles H. Morris Center during a Color Guard ceremony for acts of valor at The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire's annual meeting.

The award recipients will each be given a plaque, a medal of valor and a $2,500 gift.

Deputy Sheriff Michael Johns and Deputy Robert Francisco of the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office receive their award for actions taken on April 12, 2009 when they were dispatched to an emergency call on Interstate 95. Deputy Johns instantaneously began searching for a problem. Moments later, Deputy Johns noticed a vehicle parked on the northbound shoulder of Interstate 95 and stopped to offer assistance. When he got out of his vehicle, he found that he had come upon a single vehicle accident and that the vehicle was overturned in the marsh. Deputy Johns immediately radioed for an ambulance and assistance from his coworkers.

With no concern for his own safety, Deputy Johns ran into the mud and water of the Darien River to render aid. As he approached the vehicle he found that is was partially submerged under water and there were eight people in the van that were drowning. Deputy Johns immediately began a rescue operation to save the lives of the trapped victims.

Deputy Robert Francisco arrived on the scene and immediately began assisting Deputy Johns in rescuing people from the submerged vehicle. During the rescue operation Deputy Francisco suffered a severe laceration to his left thumb. This did not deter Deputy Francisco from the rescue operation as he and Deputy Johns continued to pull victims from the submerged vehicle. Deputy Francisco even continued to perform CPR on one of the deceased victims until the EMT arrived on the scene to relieve him. Deputy Johns continued to render first aid to the victims until EMT also relieved him.

Although two lives were lost in the accident and six lives were saved, it is very certain that all of the victims of the accident would have perished if not for the quick thinking and selfless actions of Deputies Johns and Francisco.

Captain Paul Phillips and Firefighter Brian Stafford of the Savannah Fire Department receive their award for actions taken on February 24, 2009.

Off duty Firefighter Brian Stafford and Captain Paul Phillips were dining at a restaurant on Hodgson Memorial Drive when Captain Phillips noticed a bright glow and smoke at the nearby apartment complex. Firefighter Stafford and Captain Phillips immediately drove to The Woods of Savannah Apartments, where they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the second and third floors of the three-story apartment building. Captain Phillips and Firefighter Stafford entered the apartment building and guided residents out of the smoked filled hallway. They both assisted with forcing doors open to notify and assist occupants with getting out of the building. They also attempted to search for occupants on the second floor but were hindered by heavy smoke and heat. Firefighter Stafford was treated for smoke inhalation at St. Joseph Hospital and Captain Phillips suffered burns to his face and arms.

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