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?He had to be strong'

By Ed Brock

Cody Koehler of Jonesboro had just returned home from school when his grandmother started having trouble breathing.

"I was pretty scared," 10-year-old Cody said. "First my grandma said don't call 911 because she thought (the difficulty breathing) would go away. Then she told me to call 911."

Cody did what his grandmother told him and for his bravery Gov. Sonny Perdue and Georgia Emergency Management Agency officials honored him and other "911 Heroes" at the Georgia capitol Wednesday.

"Thanks to Cody's quick action his grandmother Margie Miller made a remarkable recovery and is here with us today," GEMA spokesman Buzz Weiss said during the ceremony.

Looking on with pride as Cody received his medal from the governor, Miller said she was at Cody's house on Nov. 14 to watch him while his mother was out. Her breathing problems began shortly after she got there.

She recalled how scared Cody was for her when the crisis began.

"He was going to cry for grandma but I told him not to, that he had to be strong," Miller said.

Miller was taken to the hospital and had to have surgery. She said it was a miracle that Cody made the call that saved her life.

Cody was very informative and very calm when he talked to the 911 dispatcher, Clayton County 911 Public Education and Community Outreach Coordinator Terri Edmonson said.

"But you could tell he was very shaken up."

Cody said that talking to Clayton County 911 dispatcher Tammy York made him feel better.

David and Therese Koehler said they had talked to Cody about using 911. He had also learned about it in school and when a 911 operator came to speak at their church.

"It's one of the things you teach kids," David Koehler said. "He did a good job."

The actions of Cody and the eight other 911 Heroes honored on Wednesday should not be taken lightly, Perdue said.

"When things go wrong it takes presence of mind and composure to pick up that phone and describe to the dispatcher what's happening," Perdue said.

Among the other 911 Heroes was 10-year-old Shekell Mason of Henry County. On Aug. 14 she called 911 after finding her father suffering from a severe allergic reaction.

Perdue also declared Wednesday to be 911 Appreciation Day in honor of the 911 dispatchers and other personnel whom he said are never seen or fully appreciated until they are called upon.

"911 is an essential service that we should never take for granted," Perdue said.