By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Nobody would blame Sanyla Boyd if she had not paid close attention to the school lesson about how to call 9-1-1 that pivotal Thursday. If she would have been entertaining thoughts about riding her scooter or her best friend’s bike, or playing tea party with her younger sister Shaian. After all, those are the things typically important to most six-year-old girls. But for Sanyla and her family it’s a good thing she is no typical little girl.
Sanyla is the inaugural recipient of the 911 Award for Heroism, awarded by Peterson Air Force Base Fire Emergency Services for her life-saving action during an emergency. The award was presented June 26 in a ceremony at the Peterson fire station.
In the early evening hours Sanyla’s mother, Tranise, became unconscious from chest pains and fell to the ground. Instead of becoming hysterical like most kids her age, Sanyla took quick action and called 911. That action likely saved her mother’s life. She stayed on the phone with the emergency operator, describing what medicines her mother took, what condition she was in, and other valuable information. Sanyla continued to provide what information she could to the emergency personnel once they arrived on the scene. She also comforted her younger sibling.
Remember, this girl is six years old.
James Ragsdale, acting assistant chief of Fire Prevention, told those gathered for the ceremony that Sanyla relayed critical information that was vital to her mother’s care. Responders, he continued, told him, “that little girl knocked it out of the park.”
The instruction she received at Christa McAuliffe Elementary School from Peterson AFB Fire Emergency Services during National Fire Prevention Week helped her respond appropriately, ultimately saving her mother’s life, said Ragsdale.
“It’s a really cool thing, what she did,” he said in amazement at how such a young girl could do such a brave thing.
Chief Master Sgt. James Hazelip, Peterson AFB Fire Chief, said it was an awesome day when a very young person acted in a very responsible way. The Chief, along with some of the responders from that day, congratulated Sanyla for her act of heroism under pressure. News media asked her about her actions, friends and family shared kind words. But through it all Sanyla, not surprisingly, maintained her composure.
As for being called a hero, her reply was balanced and composed: I think it’s good, she said. Her parents agreed.
“I am pretty proud. I told her if she cried or whatever, it was OK, but I am proud she took control of the situation,” said her father U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Boyd, Bravo Company, 52nd Brigade Engineer Battalion.
He said he would like to take the credit for teaching her the things she used to save his wife, but he couldn’t, it was the school and his daughter. On one hand he was happy his daughter stepped up to handle the situation, but on the other hand he was sad she had to be in that tough spot. In the end Michael said Sanyla never ceases to amaze them.
“We’ve always known she was special, but this lets more people see what an amazing daughter we have,” he said.