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Brave, selfless correctional officers honoured

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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VINCENT Allen did not panic when he heard the faint voice of a friend over the phone who was desperately in need of emergency medical assistance.

Allen, a corporal in the Department of Correctional Services, moved in short, quick steps to his vehicle, taking with him medication he believed could help.

His friend, Corporal Ivey, who is also with the Department of Correctional Services, had suffered a heart attack while driving and thought to call Allen, as someone who was medically trained.

Yesterday, after receiving the Medal of Honour for Gallantry, Allen could not adequately explain his feelings.

“I'm very excited about this; I am overwhelmed,” he told the Jamaica Observer at the national honours and awards ceremony held at King's House in St Andrew.

“At the time I was just thinking about saving his life.

“…I advised him to pull off the road, because he was actually driving. I jumped in my car, but then I remembered it's a heart attack so I went back for some medication, because I'm a medic as well, and some oral fluids. On my way out I called for the ambulance services from my department,” he recalled.

While on his way to Ivey, he sought the assistance of policemen he saw on the road, who escorted him to the area his friend had stopped.

“When I reach I got him in my car and the police officers cleared the road for us, and I took him to KPH (Kingston Public Hospital) where they medicated him again and the doctors took over, and he survived,” Allen said.

“This means so much to me to be recognised by my country for a selfless act. I wasn't thinking about anything but to help my friend. You don't think about things like these that require you to act. I can say today he is well. It's a great feeling and an honour,” Allen shared.

He received the award for rendering “quick and alert” assistance to Ivey, who needed emergency medical assistance on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Yesterday as well, Allen's colleague, Corporal Jermaine Stewart received the Medal of Honour for Gallantry after he warded off two armed robbers who had boarded his department's vehicle and attempted to rob nine staff members on the night of November 25, 2016.

Stewart discharged his firearm, causing the thieves to flee.

“I am truly elated to be awarded knowing that [I] have served well. It's good to be awarded. I cannot go directly into what happened; however, I had to react based on what was confronting me. Knowing that it was a total of nine people in my hands, I had to act,” he told the Observer.

Stewart said that it was the training he got that caused him to be alert and gave him the courage to take on the criminals.

“Training did prepare me. At the time I did not panic and that was based on training. I know what to do, so training helped. For me, I am God-fearing, and you're tasked to perform a duty at which once you are there to serve, you should serve. I believe in service above self,” he said.

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