Reluctant hero Marine says saving life of child is ‘what anyone would do’

26 Aug 2005 | Staff Sgt. A.C. Mink

Every parent’s nightmare is the loss of a child. However, the parents of 3-year-old Noah Haydock of Jonesville, S.C., can rest easy thanks to Cpl. Jamie C. Davis.

The nightmare began during a July 4 celebration at a private residence. Upon realizing that the child was missing, Noah’s family began a search. After several frantic minutes, Noah’s mother, Amanda Haydock, found the lifeless child under the cloudy water of a nearby swimming pool.

Haydock pulled him out of the pool, becoming hysterical when she realized the child had no pulse or breathing. Sherry Robison, Haydock’s mother, took the child from his mother’s arms and laid him on the deck.

Struggling to remember all the proper techniques, she began to attempt cardio pulmonary resuscitation chest compressions.

“He coughed and a little bit of water came out, but he wasn’t breathing,” said Robison.

Davis, who accompanied his fiancé, Robison’s niece, to the family get-together, saw the situation and made a split-second decision.

“His mother pulled him out, and they started CPR,” said Davis, “but I realized they were doing it wrong.”

Without hesitation, Davis took charge of the situation.

“Someone handed me the phone and said ‘dial 911,’” said Sherry.

It was Davis.

He quickly instructed another bystander to stand at the end of the street to guide emergency medical services to the correct address. Then enlisting the help of the grandfather, Mike Robison, Davis began the proper CPR technique for a child, in hopes of reviving Noah.

“I just knew that child CPR is different than on adults,” said Davis, who says he read up on CPR because he has a 3-year-old son of his own. “I saw the kid there and started (CPR).”

“I’d learned CPR in the past, but didn’t know the technique Jamie used,” said Amanda.

“It seemed to take forever,” she said, recalling minutes passing as her father and Davis worked on her son. “I didn’t think I’d get him back. The way he looked… I thought I’d lost him for good.”

After 10 minutes of performing CPR, Noah began to breath unassisted, though he remained unconscious.

“When the ambulance got there I took (Noah) in my arms and took him to the ambulance; he had a good heartbeat,” said Union Co. South Carolina Fire Chief Tommy Haney. “They did what they were supposed to do.”

According to Scott Conner, Vice President, Preparedness, American Red Cross, “from infants to adults, knowing the right CPR techniques is essential to saving someone's life."

Sherry Robison credits more than CPR training for Davis’ actions.

“He held everything together,” she said. “I think it’s the discipline that he learned in the Marine Corps, just the way he kept his cool… most young people today couldn’t do that.”

By the following morning, Davis’ efforts made headlines in the Union Times – the local paper. However, Davis already on his way back to his job as noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of 2nd Tank Battalion’s ammunition section, wasn’t aware of the paper storm that was about to follow him and did not even mention it to his command.

Noah was released July 7, with a “full and complete recovery” according to Sherry, who had been afraid that Noah would suffer from brain damage due to lack of oxygen to his brain. “He woke up about 24-hours later and he was just perfect.”

Unbeknownst to Davis, who was still managing to keep out of the spotlight back home at Lejeune, Stephen L. Jones, Director of Union County Emergency Services Division, sent an email to 2nd Marine Division praising Davis’ “quick thinking” and for saving the life of the child.

Mid-July, Davis’ unit submitted him for the prestigious Noncommissioned Officers Association Military Vanguard Award.

“It is an honor to recognize our Marines who make such a positive impact on society,” said to 2nd Tank Battalion Adjutant, 1st Lt. Thomas L. Mackesy, who is prior-enlisted. “We should all take note.”

Apparently, South Carolina was taking notes. Davis’ actions gained the attention of U.S. Rep. Robert Inglis, R-S.C. when the Director of Union County Rescue and Emergency Medical Services Department, Dr. John Flood, sent a letter to the congressman’s office concerning Davis’ “remarkable rescue of the drowned child.”

Flood, a member of the EMS team who responded to the call about Noah, wanted to “raise awareness of the good deeds performed by U.S. service members while off-duty” and Davis’ exemplary representation of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“When I heard how the 3-year-old gained consciousness in the ambulance, I could imagine the relief of the parents and the incredible joy they must have felt,” said Inglis, the father of five.

“I think this incident shows the value of training, but also in leadership,” said Inglis. “Obviously, the child needed CPR, but the people also needed someone with a cool head to establish order to the situation, which is exactly what Corporal Davis did.”

Though not selected for the Vanguard Award by the board, Davis’ unit wasn’t daunted. Davis was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in a ceremony aboard Camp Lejeune, Aug. 26.

“It’s such good news,” he continued, “A great story of devotion on and off duty.  I was interested and definitely wanted to follow up so Corporal Davis’ actions were commended.”

The response of the reluctant hero after he received the award - “I’m just glad he’s okay. I did what anyone would do.”

“This may seem routine and obvious to the corporal, but he made a huge difference in the boy’s life and the life of his family,” said the congressman.

Noah’s grandmother, Sherry Robison’s response was a bit more emotional.

“I think he is the best thing under the sun,” she said. “I just thank God for Jamie.”

The nightmare is over, and being a typical 3-year-old, Noah has his life planned out.

“Wanna drive tractor like Pawpaw,” he said, his little voice full of pride, “and fly air-panes.”

Thanks to Davis, Noah can dream to achieve anything his heart desires.

More information about CPR is available online at:  http://www.firstaidweb.com/child.html. Contact your local American Red Cross for classes.

Editor’s note: The Union Times article by Anna Brown can be viewed in the paper’s July 5 archives at http://www.uniondailytimes.com/.