N.C. Member's Fire Response Honored with Silver Medal of Valor
Capt. Sue Beutler
Public Affairs Officer
Gastonia Composite Squadron
North Carolina Wing
A North Carolina Wing member's quick response to a fire near a service station's fuel pumps has been recognized with Civil Air Patrol's Silver Medal of Valor for distinguished and conspicuous heroic action at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of normal duty.
Second Lt. Johnny Click of the Gastonia Composite Squadron is a truck driver for FedEx Freight, with a certification for transport of hazardous materials. In June he was refueling his truck at the Travel America gas station in Richmond Hill, Georgia, while the driver of a pickup pulling a small travel trailer was refueling nearby.
The travel trailer suddenly caught fire, with flames visible in an area adjacent to the compartment containing the trailer’s two propane tanks. Click immediately reacted by running to the trailer and shutting off, disconnecting and removing the propane tanks to prevent the risk of an explosion.
He then helped use a fire extinguisher to put out the growing fire and told the station manager to call 911. Aftter that he assisted the vehicle’s owner in detaching the trailer from his pickup so it could be moved away to safety.
Nick Hisoire, station manager, said the fire “posed a danger to the facility and everyone present,” and had Click not removed the tanks, he believes “they would have ignited, causing catastrophic and life-threatening damage.”
Sgt. Paul Carter of the Richmond Hill Fire Department said Click’s “selfless act eliminated the chance of any further damage to the camper or the surrounding area, which could have been catastrophic due to the proximity of large amounts of fuel and other combustibles”.
After leaving the scene in capable hands, Click resumed his return trip to Charlotte.
He will receive the Silver Medal of Valor – CAP’s highest decoration – from a representative of National Headquarters.