Young tornado survivor meets his rescuers

Chattanooga, Tenn. – Andrew Ellis, Tennessee’s 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Champion, recently met with representatives from LIFE FORCE and the Chattanooga SWAT team who came to his rescue after the Apison, Tenn., tornado on April 27, 2011.

Elected officials, Erlanger personnel and other EMS agencies witnessed the special reunion that took place in the LIFE FORCE hangar on May 21 as Erlanger Health System kicked off National EMS Week. The event recognized emergency personnel from both Tennessee and Georgia for their extraordinary efforts in saving lives.

LIFE FORCE, Erlanger’s air ambulance service, and the Chattanooga SWAT team received multiple awards for their heroic rescue efforts in the aftermath of the April tornadoes.

When Erlanger’s LIFE FORCE 2 team, based in Sparta, Tenn., received reports that a child had been ripped out of his Apison home by a tornado, team members Derek Ball, Mark Shipp and Shaun Miller immediately responded to the call. .

At the scene in Apison, off-duty LIFE FORCE crew member Glenn Susskind and the Chattanooga Swat Team used hundreds of flashlights and the headlights of emergency vehicles to light the way for LIFE FORCE’s landing. When the LIFE FORCE 2 medical team arrived on the scene, young Andrew Ellis appeared hypothermic with a broken femur, along with abrasions and lacerations. As the team prepared him for transport, high-tension power lines began snapping and breaking over their heads. They immediately took cover and miraculously, no one was injured.

“At the moment I heard my son was being airlifted by LIFE FORCE to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger with life-threatening injuries, there seemed to be a sense of security in my heart,” said Wendy Ellis, Andrew’s mother. “The dedication of the crew on LIFE FORCE 2 that night saved my son’s life. They even put their own lives in harm’s way to do what makes them stand out from everyone else.”

In addition to the recognition at Erlanger, more than 20 emergency responders who assisted with Andrew’s rescue and medical attention received Region 3 Star of Life Award in Nashville, Tenn., on May 24.

Each year, Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children recognizes state recipients for the Star of Life Award. Two LIFE FORCE air medical teams, the City of Chattanooga SWAT team and Putnam County EMS were honored for their exceptional front-line care.

Photo Caption – Those who were honored during the Erlanger National EMS Week recognition for their dedication to emergency and trauma care were as follows.

Curtiss Harris, EMT, Angel EMS – EMT of the year for Georgia Region 1
Dewayne Wilson, Angel EMS – EMS Service of the year for Georgia Region 1
Devon Yarbrough, EMT-P, Floyd EMS – Pediatric Call of the year for Georgia Region 1
Jeremiah Tapp, EMT-P, LF2, TN Region 2 Star of Life Award Winner
Andrew Ellis – Survivor
Derek Ball, LF2, TN Region 3 Star of Life Award Winner
Jonathan Waller, EMT-P, Walker Co, Emergency Services – Paramedic of the year for Georgia Region 1
Glenn Susskind, EMT-P, LF1 & Chattanooga SWAT – TN Region 3 Star of Life Award Winner
James Creel, MD – Lifetime Achievement Award Winner for Georgia Region 1