Matthew Richards, 9, holds the plaque he received from the North Creek Volunteer Fire Company during the March 24 ceremony at the firehouse commending him for calling 911 to help his grandfather.
Nine-year-old Matthew Richards, of North Creek, was honored Saturday, March 24 at a ceremony held at the North Creek Volunteer Fire Company.
Richards received certificates from the fire company, the town, and the Warren County Office of Emergency Services in addition to a plaque recognizing his bravery, courage, and selflessness in handling an emergency situation involving his grandfather, Brian Richards Sr.
On the afternoon of Nov. 8, 2011, Matthew went to his grandfather’s house after school to visit. He was surprised to find him still sleeping in bed. After trying to wake him several times, he pulled down the sheet to discover a large quantity of blood on his grandfather’s chest. He immediately called 911, informed them of the situation, and followed all the dispatcher’s directions. While remaining on the line, Matthew had the presence of mind to unlock the front door and wait there for first responders to arrive. When the paramedics arrived, he asked them if they would like him to gather up the medications that his grandfather was currently taking.
First on the scene was Bill Thomas.
“He greeted me at the door and explained what had happened,” Thomas said. “He acted like a true adult.”
Fire Chief Steve Studnicky was also impressed.
“I’ve had 30-year-olds who weren’t able to be as clear headed in that kind of situation,” Studnicky said.
Everyone agreed that Matthew’s quick response allowed his grandfather to receive urgent medical attention much sooner than he otherwise would have. Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, Brian Richards Sr. passed away a few days later on Nov. 11 at Glens Falls Hospital.
Matthew’s father, Brian Richards Jr. points out that his son’s actions still allowed his father to spend his last days comfortably under medical care and surrounded by his family. He added that his family had always been close knit, taking vacations together and visiting each other often. Since his mother passed away in 2009, his father had regularly joined them for dinner and maintained an active role in the family. The evening before the incident, Richards Sr. had been splitting firewood and watching movies with his family.
Brandy Richards, Matthew’s mother, said he and his grandfather, who lived next door, were very close. After school, Matthew went straight to his grandfather’s house, where the two enjoyed chocolate sundaes together.
Asked what his favorite memory with his grandfather was, Matthew said that it was during a family vacation at Myrtle Beach when he and his grandfather woke up before everyone else and went swimming in the ocean, then in the pool, and then relaxed in the Jacuzzi.
“It was awesome,” Matthew said.
In addition to his family and friends, other guests at the ceremony included Matthew’s teachers, Mrs. Hayden and Mrs. Morris from the Johnsburg Central School, firefighters and Johnsburg Town Supervisor Ron Vanselow.
Matthew said he wants people to learn from his experience that anyone can help make a difference if they do the right thing.