ALBANY, Ga. -- When it isn't giving money to community organizations, the Exchange Club of Albany also honors those who make outstanding contributions to the community.
Two emergency responders were honored for saving lives in the course of the past year at the club's Friday lunch meeting.
Selected by their peers to represent the best work of their respective organizations, the club gave plaques and $100 each to Dwayne Mann, Albany Fire Department firefighter of the year, and Bobby Head, Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services paramedic of the year.
For men who rush into burning buildings, climb into the smashed vehicles and dutifully take victims to safety, both recipients seemed almost reluctant to have the applause and attention of the club.
Mann, an Albany firefighter for 11 months and former U.S. Marine, said, "Anyone of my comrades would have done the same thing in that situation."
That situation was an early morning fire in August at 2507 Nottingham Way. Firefighters broke into the apartment's front door and faced extreme heat and thick smoke.
They began to search for victims. Flames engulfed the kitchen. On the floor lay an unconscious victim.
Mann alerted fellow firefighters Henry Hallman, Lt. Lorenzo Hall and Lt. Joe Potter that he was dragging a victim to safety. Acting as a team, firefighters held the line providing protection from the fire for victim and rescuer with their attack hoses.
Once the victim was outside the burning building, firefighters transferred him to emergency medical personnel who took him to the hospital.
"I didn't know he lived until the next day," Mann said. "It was a great feeling."
Crediting Head with quick thinking and action to save lives, Sam Adams, EMS supervisor, said Head was responsible for saving seven lives under different circumstances.
Adams said whether it was a woman suffering an allergic reaction to a newly prescribed drug, a woman with stroke symptoms or an extremely obese combative man with seizures or any other life-threatening situation, Head recognized the problems and took the correct action to save lives.
Accepting his plaque, Head, with EMS since 2003, thanked his family for their support while he said he was glad to be of service to the community.
"I just want to thank the Dougherty County Emergency Medical Service for the opportunity to serve Albany and Dougherty County."