First Grader Honored For Saving Mom

Her new T-shirt reads: "I am a Hero." And 6-year-old Courtney Welder certainly deserves the honor.

The Lyman Elementary first grader knew exactly what to do when her mom suddenly became seriously ill.

Courtney and her 3-year-old brother were at home with their mom. Dad was at work with the Harrison County sheriff's department. When her mom had trouble breathing, Courtney called 911 then calmly followed the instructions of an AMR dispatcher.

The young hero is credited with saving her mother's life.

"The first thing we're going to give her is a T-shirt that says sheriff's department hero. And on the back it says, 'I am a Hero,' because in our opinion, she really is," said Sheriff George Payne as he presented the young hero several gifts and awards.

Courtney Welder seemed a little overwhelmed by all the attention. But the intelligent first grader knew exactly how to act when her mom needed emergency medical help.

AMR dispatcher Yolanda Peel handled the call from Courtney.

"She was remarkably calm. Most adults, they're hysterical. Because they know the implications if a person is not breathing or if they're vomiting or bleeding. But she was very calm. So it was easier for me to do my job," Peel said.

The tape from that emergency call reflects that calm.

"Now I want you to cover her mouth with your mouth and blow in her mouth two times. Like you're blowing up a balloon, OK? Make sure her nose is pinched OK?," dispatcher Peel said on the emergency call recording.

Courtney's mom doesn't remember much about what happened.

"I remember telling her that I was having trouble breathing. And then I don't remember anything after that. The next thing I remember was getting to the hospital and being told my daughter saved my life," Angela Welder said.

"It's very scary. But you're trained to do a certain job and you have to put that in the back of your mind at the time and that's what I did," Peel said.

Courtney's calm under pressure earned her special honors, including certification as a "junior paramedic."

Her principal echoed the praise of those gathered at the school assembly.

"Thank you Courtney for being such a brave little girl. And I know you mother will always thank you for what you did. We are so proud of you," Lyman Elementary principal Edwina Sumrall said.

Courtney's thankful mom has another name for her hero.

"She's my angel. She'll always be my angel."