7-Year-Old Boy Is 9-1-1 Hero

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- As we mark the end of another season of giving, we're wrapping up a series of profiles of outstanding young achievers who have given back in remarkable and compelling ways.

In this week's Reaching 4 Excellence report, meet a little boy who became a hero with the most precious gift of all -- saving a life.

It's been a joyous Christmas at the home of Patrick and Heather Darneal in Independence, Mo.

And it's especially joyous because Heather's mom, Tonya Booker, is well enough to celebrate with everyone. And they have seven year old Aiden to thank for that.

"I love all my grandchildren, I have seven of them but, and he's always been my my star and now that star shines a little brighter, it really does," says Booker.

Booker has a long history of serious health challenges -- a heart attack and three cancer battles, she has a pacemaker and a weak immune system from chemotherapy and she'll soon have her gall bladder removed.

So this past summer when she became ill and collapsed while she was home alone with Aiden, it was a scary emergency.

"And then she came over here and she was going to step up here but then she fell down right here," says Aiden, pointing to a spot on the floor in a basement bedroom.

With his grandmother passed out on the floor, Aiden overcame his panic and immediately called 911 to get emergency help.

"My grandma just fell on the floor," says Aiden in the 911 recording from that day. "She's been sick all day. She's been sick a long time."

"He was quiet but he was easy to understand," says Independence Police 911 call taker Rhonda Rogers.

"He was cool, calm and collected."

Rogers still marvels at how well Aiden did. She took Aiden's call and deftly guided him through it and stayed on the line to help Aiden explain his grandmother's emergency to the ambulance dispatcher.

"We get several calls a week from children," says Rogers. "Some are crying. Some are hysterical. Some are just mumbling. You can't understand them. But he was very calm and did a good job."

Aiden helped the emergency crews with good information when they got to the house, too.

It turns out his grandma was severely dehydrated by an illness. She made a full recovery after a hospital stay but it could have gone from bad to worse very quickly if Aiden hadn't done so well.

"We're both really proud of him," says Aiden's mom, Heather Darneal. "My mom said he's always been mature for his age but seven years old! That's a lot to put on a seven year old."

Naturally, Aiden and his family were just relieved and happy that his grandmother made it through this crisis safe and sound. But then a lot of other people started discovering Aiden's heroism and how well he did when so much depended on him.

"To maintain his poise like he did and as soon as the call was over, I mentioned to my supervisor, 'We should do one of those 9-1-1 things for Aiden because he was very calm on this,'" says Rogers.

So Independence police nominated Aiden for the Mid-America Regional Council's Kansas City Regional 911 Heroes Award. The MARC award recognizes youth who use 911 properly in an emergency and perform a heroic action that saves a life.

Aiden got the award in a big ceremony at school.

"I feel very good about it," says Aiden. And more than pretty good about how he helped his grandmother in a potentially life-threatening crisis.

"I think if I didn't call 911 she probably would be in the hospital still or something," says Aiden.

And grandma?

"I'm so blessed," says Booker. "He was amazing. Absolutely amazing." Quite a little hero.

Aiden's grandma and parents say they have worked with him on how to make 911 calls. And Aiden told us it's very important for everyone to know how to do it. He advised all of us to do what he did if we ever have to make that call -- just take big, deep breaths and calm down.

FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on Fox 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on Fox 4 News at 5 p.m.

Phil.Witt@wdaftv4.com

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