Davyon Johnson, 11, couldn’t quite understand it: the pizza party, the accolades from the mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma, his picture in the newspaper and on television — and the word that had been linked to his name: hero.
Why, the sixth grader asked his mother, was he being rewarded for doing the right thing?
“I told him, ‘You saved two people’s lives,’” said LaToya Johnson, Davyon’s mother. “‘That is special.’”
And so began a whirlwind December for Davyon, who lives in Muskogee, who loves wrestling, basketball, remote-controlled cars and Fortnite, and who was honoured by his community this month for saving the life of a fellow student who was choking and an older woman who was escaping a house fire, both on the same day, December 9.
The Muskogee police department and Muskogee county sheriff’s office presented Davyon with a certificate on December 15, naming him an honorary member of their forces.
“Always willing to help, always just a friend to everyone,” Latricia Dawkins, the principal at his school in the Muskogee public school district, said on Sunday.
“He said to me: ‘I don’t want everyone to pay attention to me. I kind of did what I was supposed to do,’” Dawkins said.
All Davyon knows is that on the morning of December 9 he was by the water fountain at school when he heard a seventh-grade boy whisper: “I’m choking. I’m choking.”
The boy had opened a water bottle with his mouth and its cap slipped into his throat, Dawkins said.
Davyon wrapped his arms around the student’s abdomen and performed the Heimlich manoeuvre, a technique he had learned on YouTube. He squeezed the boy’s abdomen thrice and the cap flew out.
When emergency medical workers arrived, Dawkins said, Davyon kept asking the boy if he was OK. The boy recovered and was fine the next day, she said.
Johnson picked up her son, who she said was a bit shaken up. They had church service later that evening, so they went home, rested and then got back on the road. That’s when life No. 2 was saved.
It was about 5pm when Johnson spotted smoke coming from a house.
“I didn’t think nothing of it, but he was like, ‘No, Momma, this is a house on fire,’” Johnson recalled her son saying.
She turned the car around, and there it was: a small fire near the back of the house.
She honked her horn and called 911 as Davyon got out of the car, walked to the front door and knocked.
Five people in the house stepped outside, saw what was happening and ran, Johnson said. A sixth person, however, was having trouble. She was older and was using a walker.
“She wasn’t moving fast enough,” Davyon said. “So I’ve got to kind of help her get to her truck because everybody was leaving.”
They arrived at the woman’s truck. The sun was setting, and church services would begin soon, so Davyon said goodbye to the woman, whom he didn’t know, and got into his mother’s car. As they prepared to pull away, he looked out the window and could see the red and white flashing lights of a fire truck.
He had seen this before. When he was eight years old, he watched his father enter a burning apartment complex ito make sure everyone was safe. His father, Willie James Logan, was not a firefighter, but he had done the right thing that day, Davyon said. “I look up to my dad,” he said.
On August 19, Davyon’s father died from Covid-19. He was 52.
New York Times News Service