By Betsy Dolan
As Houston’s television news crews surrounded 5-year old Samantha White at Missouri City’s City Hall, she fiddled with the shiny medal that had just been placed around her neck by the fire chief and seemed quite comfortable in her new role as a media darling.
White was honored by Missouri City’s emergency crews and by Harris County 911 after she helped rescue her grandma, Renee Brown.
On the afternoon of January 25, Brown was standing on a 2-story ladder trying to hang a swing over a tree branch at her East Pebble Beach backyard.
“Somehow the ladder folded in on itself and my foot got stuck in the ladder,” recalled Brown. “I had my forearms wrapped around the branch and I was just hanging there.”
With Brown about 25 feet in the air, there was no way for White, who was 4-years old at the time, to help get her grandma down. So the preschooler did the next best thing.
“I called 911 and told them that my Ne-Ne was stuck in the tree,” White said.
Harris County 911 dispatcher, Christina Barnes, took the call.
“She was very calm. She told us exactly what the problem was. She did a very good job,” Barnes said.
White liked talking to Brown so much, she called 911 a second time. And then a third.
White even waited in the front yard for the rescue crew to arrive and was waving her arms when the fire truck pulled up to the house.
“It wasn’t very long and I saw the firemen come into the backyard,” Brown said. “I was never worried because Sam is so smart that I knew everything would be fine.”
Station 1 firefighter Kyle Vincent was the one who rescued Brown.
“Her foot was pinched inside the ladder and she was in some pain. And her arms were starting to slip so we were glad we got there when we did,” Vincent said.
White appeared unfazed by the ordeal, and even invited the firefighters to stay for a tea party.
Missouri City and Harris County 911 decided to honor White on April 1, the first day of 911 Education Month. Officials gave Sam a certificate, some gifts and best of all, a ride in the fire truck.
“I’m hoping I’m not burning down the kitchen anytime soon but if I do, she’s the one to call,” joked Sam’s mom, Rachael Hopkins.