Friday 21st December, 2018 –The Dominican man who pulled two young children from a burning house in South Street in September was honoured by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams on Thursday during an investiture ceremony at Government House.
Mr. William Barber was awarded the Governor General’s Faithful and Meritorious Service Medal-Cross, for meritorious service in saving lives. It is the highest level in the awards system introduced by Sir Rodney Williams a few years ago.
In his citation, it was outlined that Mr. Barber was riding his bicycle on South Street that night when he came across a house engulfed in flames. His initial thought was that the house was vacant and that no one could possibly be inside. However, to his shock he heard the sounds of what appeared to be young children screaming coming from inside even as another child on the outside cried out that his brothers were trapped in the house.
He quickly determined he could not allow two young children to perish in that horrible manner. After making several attempts to enter the building he concluded that the only chance of saving the children was to break down a section of concrete wall. He retrieved a huge boulder lying at the side of the road and smashed the wall creating a hole large enough for him to insert himself horizontally into the building with only his legs protruding. Barber was then able to call the children to him and plucked them to safety with mere seconds to spare.
The rescued children were among the attendees at the investiture ceremony. They were given the opportunity to present the stranger who saved their lives with a gift in appreciation of his heroic efforts.
Speaking at Government House on Thursday, Barber was gracious in accepting the honour.
The Governor General’s Personal Honours were bestowed on fifteen people who have made sterling contributions in various fields of work. Among them are Timothy Payne, Dr. George Roberts, Elizabeth Makhoul, Major Alando Michael and Major Joycelyn Maxam of the Salvation Army.
The Halo Humanitarian Award was bestowed on Shenita Rose.