HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Two HEMSI first responders are going in the books as the first-ever recipients of the Handtevy Challenge Coin.

The Handtevy Award recognizes the actions of first responders working to save the life of a child in medical distress.

On their website, Handtevy is described as “a pediatric resuscitation system proven to save lives and reduce errors.”

HEMSI paramedic Jason Clemmons says the pediatric program changed the way he runs pediatric calls. He says it includes everything from the response, to drug dosage amount, to the aftermath of the call.

Richard Sanchez, a HEMSI Emergency Medical Technician, says he and Clemmons took the Handtevy course only two weeks prior to the very call they learned about in the class.

They were partners on November 16, 2021, when they got a call of a 6-year-old in cardiac arrest. Because of the training they just received, they knew how to quickly make a plan.

“So my partner and I were actually able to have a conversation about — this is the age of the child, this is the medication we’re going to be giving, these are our drug dosages,” said Clemmons. “So we had a game plan going into it.”

Because of their level of response, they are being awarded by Dr. Peter Antevy.

“It’s a very humbling experience because I’ve never received anything like this,” said Sanchez. “It makes me, and I know it makes my partner, want to do better.”

They each received a letter and a Challenge Coin, the first of many to be awarded across the country.

“It’s humbling and it tells you you’re doing something right,” said Clemmons.

Even after receiving the awards, they are yearning to become better.

“You know, the day that you arrive at work and you feel like you know everything is the day you stop learning,” said Sanchez.

Dr. Antevy said in his letter that Sanchez and Clemmons’ response “demonstrates that pediatric resuscitation takes a village.”

HEMSI says it will pay for more first responders to receive the Handtevy training, so they can stay up-to-date on the best way to handle emergency calls.