When Amber Strother of Pensacola, Florida noticed her 2-year-old son Rylan turning blue one day, she realized that he wasn’t breathing. Panicking, she tied to aid her child, but the toddler was choking on a grape and it wouldn’t come loose. That’s when she rushed next door for help.
The next door neighbor was Sgt. Tyler Harman of the United States Marine Corps.
Sgt. Harman quickly went into action, using the skills he learned as a Marine to save the boys life. After trying different techniques, Harman was finally able to get the grape out of the young boy’s throat. Thanks to his quick actions, 2-year-old Rylan was fine.
“I don’t want to think about what could have happened if he hadn’t known what to do,” Amber said.
After the incident, Sgt. Harman went on with his life and didn’t mention to his fellow Marines how he saved a young boy’s life. According to the Pensacola News Journal, however, Rylan’s grandfather reached out to leaders at Pensacola Naval Air Station, where Harman is an instructor with Marine Aviation Training Support Group 23.
Harman’s commanding officers took note of Harman’s actions, even if the Marine himself was humble about what had happened.
In a ceremony at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Maj. Javier Garcia awarded Harman with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for heroism in a ceremony in front of 600 fellow Marines. Amber and Rylan where there as well to see Harman get honored for saving Rylan’s life.
“I hope for you Marines that you understand that there is a reason for all the training you get while you are here, even something as simple as a three-hour CPR class,” Harman told his fellow Marines at the medal ceremony.
The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal is awarded for “Meritorious service or achievement in a combat or non-combat situation based on sustained performance of a superlative nature.”
“People have in their minds that a Marine is going to take a life, to kill the enemy,” Maj. Garcia said at the medal ceremony. “Sgt. Harman saved a life. Marines are here to serve, we serve our nation and Sgt. Harman embodies that service.”
Watch the medal ceremony in this video!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.