News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Yesterday, the Minister of National Security, Renée Ming recognized the incredible bravery of two very special children during the inaugural Fire Service Community Heroism Awards ceremony.

The event, which took place at the Hamilton Fire Station, was organised by the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service. And it was an opportunity to honour the Oduntan family who averted a tragedy when Mrs. Yemi Oduntan and children Zoe and Eli Oduntan (ages 9 and 6 respectively) jumped into action to save the life of their father during a near drowning incident earlier this year.

Minster Ming said she was amazed at the heroic acts of the family members, particularly the children saying: “Zoe and Eli – you have you have done something truly unbelievable and I am just amazed by your act of bravery. Through sheer determination, you put aside your fear and averted tragedy. I should also mention the lifesaving efforts of Mrs Oduntan, who was able to administer CPR on Mr. Oduntan husband for 12 minutes until the fire fighters arrived.

“Thankfully we are all here today to honour you and to tell you just how incredibly proud we are of you. These are the kinds of heroic selfless acts that shape and stengthen us. I think there will be those who will join me in saying that you should definitely consider the Fire Service as a potential future career, because you definitely have what it takes! Ultimately, we are here because Zoe and Eli and their family chose not to give up nor give in. It is an example that I hope we can all learn from.”

Zoe Oduntun, shared her account of the day saying: “I appreciate being recognized for what I did on that day, but I have to say that my superheroes are the firefighters who came to our help, the Hospital staff who drove the ambulance and gave lifesaving support and also the doctors and nurses at the hospital who brought my father back to life. I also want to thank the two police officers who stayed with me and my brother and escorted us to the hospital so that we could see my father.”

Chief Fire Officer, Lloyd Burchall added: “I am in awe at the heroism demonstrated by these children, who took action and followed directions resulting in their father’s life being saved. It takes 27 weeks to train a firefighter, and the first time that those lessons are required to be put into action the pressure can be enormous. In that moment, you don’t know what to think, and the knowledge seems to pour out of your brain and you remember what needs to be done. The oldest child, Zoe, reacted with calm and focus, amazingly, without any training. These children, and this family, have set an amazing example for other members of our community.”

During today’s occasion, Zoe and Eli were presented with gift certificates as an early Christmas present and for the parents the gift of free CPR classes. The emergency dispatch staff and EMT’s from the Bermuda Hospitals Board, who facilitated the emergency response, were also acknowledged and given letters of thanks for their invaluable contribution to the successful outcome.

Sgt Gavin Carter in his closing remarks said: “Given everything that has taken place over the last few years, I think that we can all agree that this is the sort of good news that we need right now.”