Cadet Chief Master Sergeant (C/CMSgt) Mark Martel recently was awarded one of the rarest honors a Civil Air Patrol Cadet or Senior Member can receive. The Lifesaving Award for Outstanding Humanitarian Service, presented Nov. 30 by Hilton Head Island Mayor David Bennett, was given because of Cadet Martel's quick thinking and his service to a woman who might have died had he and his father not been present.
In early October 2017, Commander Mark Eudy received an email from Mary Leonard, stating that on Sept. 21, 2017, she suffered a potentially lethal heart rhythm episode. Because C/CMSgt Martel and his father were to install an oven for Leonard, they arrived at her house to discover she had called 911 for help.
Leonard wrote: "While his dad was talking to EMS, Mark was seen by my neighbors moving cars and furniture to make room for EMS. Then he flagged them down and brought them directly to me." She said that after being released from the hospital she returned home to find that not only had her oven been installed, but the yard and house were reset as if nothing had happened.
Leonard commended C/CMSgt Martel and his father for going above and beyond any normal effort to help her.
She wrote, "So many times you heard bad things about young men, that I wanted you to know the kind of young man [Cadet Martel] is - someone who will step up when needed."
The letter was forwarded to the South Carolina Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, who completed the process to designate C/CMSgt Martel a recipient of a life-saving award.
Mayor Bennett said during the presentation, "I am so thankful that young men and women like Cadet Martel are part of our future. I am thankful that he was in the right place to be of service, and I am thankful that Mrs. Leonard is here tonight as well."
Bennett, whose son is also a member of the Lowcountry Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol, spoke highly of the Emergency Services training and the skills that Civil Air Patrol teaches its cadets - skills that certainly played a role in the events of Sept. 21, 2017.
The Lowcountry Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Station on Summit Road.
For more information, call 843-368-4302.