East Washingtonian - Your Hometown News Source

By Melissa Gemmell
Special to the East Washingtonian 

Celebrating a young hero


March 12, 2020

–East Washingtonian photo by Melissa Gemmell

Seven-year-old Karl Burnstad, left, was presented with a Lifesaving awards by Undersheriff Rob Patterson, right, for his heroic role in saving his mother's life on November 12, 2019.

DAYTON–A special ceremony was held in the Columbia County Courtroom on February 28, in honor of Karl Burnstad, a seven-year-old, who was presented with a Lifesaving award for saving his mother Tracy's life during a medical emergency last November.

First-grader Karl Burnstad, his mother, father and three siblings live 19 miles out of Dayton on the Tucannon, bordering Garfield County. His mother Tracy suffers from a chronic medical condition and on November 12, 2019, Karl, her oldest of four children, found her unresponsive. Upon finding his mother in this condition, he dialed 911, something he learned about at the Denny Ashby Library in Pomeroy at a summer program that teaches kids how to use 911.

According to Ashley Strickland, Director of Columbia County E911 and Emergency Management, "Columbia County recently started using RapidSOS which is a service that aids in locating cellular callers to a more precise location than previously possible. RapidSOS, along with Karl's quick thinking, allowed the emergency responders to be guided directly to his residence. Without Karl dialing 911, it is very unlikely his mother would have survived. Without RapidSOS Emergency responders would have been significantly delayed in reaching her, putting her at greater risk."

-File photo

Karl Burnstad

A RapidSOS representative attended the ceremony and presented their own award to Karl, and then recognized the local 911 dispatchers.

The ceremony was attended by over 50 people, including approximately twelve children. Columbia County Undersheriff Rob Patterson stated that the Columbia County Sheriff's Office hadn't given a Lifesaving award in many years.

Karl also received a special gift from Columbia County Dispatch to show their appreciation.

Jim Nelson, Garfield County Sheriff's school resource officer for the Pomeroy School District, congratulated Karl, who he knew from that school.

At the closing of the ceremony, Karl told everyone present, "Thank you for coming."


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