On Wednesday, August 24, Fire Official John Thomas, of the Montclair Fire Department was awarded The Lifesaving Award of Merit by the American Red Cross.
“The Lifesaving Award of Merit is the highest award given by the American Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Health and Safety Services course. The certificate is signed by the President of the United States, who is the honorary chairman of the American Red Cross, and the Chairman of the American Red Cross. The award package also includes a citation, medallion and lapel pin.”
Fire Official Thomas received the award because of his lifesaving efforts on July 5th. While on his way home after his shift, F/O Thomas observed the driver of the car behind him acting erratically and exit the vehicle. Seeing that he was clearly in distress, F/O Thomas exited his own car and proceeded to investigate. The man was turning blue, and F/O Thomas could tell that he was choking on something. Thomas then performed the Heimlich maneuver until the object dislodged.
Fire Official Thomas has been a Red Cross volunteer for over 25 years. He started as a disaster responder and has progressed through the positions of disaster manager, and Essex County Supervisor. He is currently an instructor of disaster related courses for the Red Cross.