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News | Oct. 19, 2017

Susquehanna’s Dixon awarded 2017 Spirit of Courage Award

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Jennifer Dixon, distribution process worker at DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, has been awarded the 2017 Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Award, during a ceremony held Tuesday, Sept. 26, for her swift thinking and fast action after seeing a vehicle accident. 

On the night of Nov. 25, 2016, Dixon was driving from the Middletown High School football game in Swatara Township, Pennsylvania, when she noticed an overturned vehicle on fire.  Springing into action, Dixon directed her mother, who was in the car with her, to call 911 while she went to the vehicle in order to assess the situation. 

Noticing two teenage males trapped in the vehicle, Dixon tried to open the door, but it was jammed from the accident.  Seeing that the fire was starting to spread further within the vehicle, she kicked out the back passenger window and retrieved the first of the two youths, pulling him to safety. 

While rescuing the victim, Dixon’s clothing caught fire.  She then acted to put out the flames on the victim and herself.  A local man followed suit by using the escape passage that Dixon created and pulled the second teen to safety. 

Dixon and the local resident conducted immediate first aid until fire and emergency medical services arrived on scene.  The fire department incident commander and police officer credited Dixon’s quick thinking and deliberate actions to saving the lives of both teens.

Dixon was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns.  Both teens were treated for severe third degree burns and multiple injuries.  Subsequently, both teens stabilized and will recover from their injuries.  The hospital spokeswoman also stated that if the teens had remained in the vehicle any longer, the outcome would have been very different.  

Valley Preferred, the Burn Prevention Network and the Regional Burn Center and Burn Recovery at Lehigh Valley Hospital launched the Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Award Program in 2005 to honor people in eastern and northeastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey who risked their lives to save others from a burn or death by fire. The program recognizes individuals and groups that have done an outstanding job of promoting fire safety or burn prevention education.