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Little Girl's Lifesaver Named Volunteer Firefighter of the Year

Tom Flanigan

Saturday, October 5 was Leon County's 22nd Annual Volunteer Firefighter and Fire Truck Roundup. This year, a true life-saver was honored as "Firefighter of the Year."

Last May, Woodville Volunteer Fire Lieutenant Tom Mahalich used CPR to keep a young Crossway Court girl alive. Mahalich said it was not himself but God who saved the girl's life.

"He put me in the right place at the right time with the right training to do what I had to do," he insisted.

Among the hundreds of people at the Roundup was the young lady who Mahalich had saved. He choked up as he struggled to explain what her presence meant to him.

"Oh, man! He finally blurted out. "Undescribable!"

Meanwhile, Leon County Director of Volunteers Geri Bush said the area's 6 volunteer fire companies could use more Tom Mahalichs.

"If anybody out there wants to volunteer, they can give us a call at (850) 606-1970. Our website is: www.volunteer.volunteerleon.org.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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