Saturday, July 05, 2008

Local hero wins award


July 04, 2008




Local hero wins award

Man of the hour
Patrick Mthethwa with his bravery award

HLUHLUWE firefighter Patrick Mthethwa is the winner of the annual debis Emergency Hero of the Year award.
Mthethwa claimed the title during a prestigious awards lunch held at the Mercedes-Benz offices on Monday.
Mthethwa, from the Big 5 municipality fire station in Hluhluwe, won the award after courageously assisting the police in capturing six suspects who were involved in an armed robbery and the shooting of a police officer.
The firefighter was selected as the winner from nine other finalists and has won an advanced emergency training course of his choice and a token cash award.
The award, which was founded and sponsored by debis Fleet Management, a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Group Company, is aimed at honouring the unsung heroes from the emergency services sector and recognising the role emergency services play in South African life.
'We are very proud to have Patrick Mthethwa as our winner for this year's award.
'One of the very important criteria in selecting a winner is assessing whether a finalist went beyond the call of duty when the incident happened,' said Aluwani Ramabulana, CEO of debis Fleet Management.
'Patrick acted above and beyond his normal duties as a firefighter and this makes him a true hero.
'His brave act of selflessness and courage reflects his passion to serve his community.
'People like Patrick make South Africa a better place to live in,' said Ramabulana.

Mthethwa was on his way back from controlling a truck fire when he noticed some suspicious activities taking place on the Hluhluwe municipality grounds.
Without a second thought, Mthethwa drove into the property to assess the situation further. Once inside, he spotted a suspect running away and bravely gave chase even though the suspect threatened him with his firearm.
Realising that he needed assistance, Mthethwa alerted the security guards whom he found had been bound and gagged by the gang. Reacting quickly to the situation, he called the police and together they followed the criminals and confronted them at a petrol station.
One of the suspects opened fire on them, killing an SAPS member.
Mthethwa wrestled another suspect to the ground and managed to confiscate his gun which allowed the police to bring the situation under control.
As the police were making the necessary arrests, Mthethwa overheard one of the suspects arranging a meeting on his cell phone at a nearby location.
After noting the details, Mthethwa alerted the police who arrested the six suspects at the location supplied by Mthethwa.
All the suspects were later arrested thanks to the brave contribution and commitment of the firefighter.

'I feel very honoured to have won this award,' said Mthethwa.
'Thinking back to that day, it was quite scary having a firearm pointed at me and also handling a firearm for the very first time.
'I am very grateful for the way things turned out.
'I was just in the right place at the right time and was able to help my colleagues.
'I really don't think of myself as a hero. I was just doing what I could to help.'



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