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'I knew something was not right': Off-duty PCFR member jumps onto moving float, saves child's life during Christmas parade



BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) – A normal parade turned into a day that a Polk County Fire Rescue member will never forget.

While enjoying the Havendale Christmas Parade with his family last Friday, Dustin Bovill, an off-duty PCFR driver/engineer noticed something wasn’t right when he observed a child have a medical episode on a float.

With no time to think, Bovill quickly jumped onto the moving parade float and began to render life-saving aid to the child, officials stated.

“While I was watching the float pass by, I saw the father’s expression as he looked up from the float and I knew something was not right,” Bovill said in a statement. “After I saw the child’s father, I jumped onto the moving float in order to assist in any way that I could.”

That’s when Bovill became a hero. While on the float, he was able to clear the child’s airway, ultimately saving the child’s life.


He continued to ride on the float with the child and the family until they reached the end of the parade route. When they reached the end, Bovill transferred care to the PCFR Rescue Truck that was standing by.

According to a press release, the child was then transported to a nearby hospital.

“Driver/Engineer Bovill’s instinct to jump in and assist a citizen in need demonstrates our member’s readiness to serve whether they are on and off-duty,” said Polk County Fire Rescue Chief Hezedean A. Smith, D.M. in a statement. “Bovill’s actions and the care he provided to the child in need is something we are very proud of here at Polk County Fire Rescue.”

Source: WFLA

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