Imagine you’re 7 years old. Your dad, who’s diabetic, has passed out from extremely low blood sugar, and the only other person at home is your 4-year-old sister. Most kids would find that to be a pretty scary situation.
By BETH LIPOFF
Special to The Star
On Aug. 5, Rosehill Elementary second-grader Parker Schultz of Lenexa handled that scenario like a pro. Parker called 911, stayed calm and knew all the information to tell the operator — her name, address and even what was wrong with her dad, who has Type 1 diabetes.
Emergency operator Marie Athearn nominated Parker for the 911 Heroes Award from the Mid-America Regional Council. With sparkly sequined boots and a partly toothless smile, Parker received the award at a school assembly of about 350 kindergartners and first- and second-graders last week at Rosehill.
Once the paramedics arrived and treated Parker’s father, Matt Barr, they were impressed with Parker, who calmly took her sister, Paxton Barr, downstairs to fix a meal for their dad to help treat his problem. The Johnson County Emergency Communications Center also gave Paxton an award for being brave during the incident.
“Some kids struggle for basic information,” said paramedic Corey Doughty. Parker “was a trouper for everything. It’s always more difficult for us if there’s kids crying on scene, but with her, that wasn’t a problem.”
Athearn said they don’t get a lot of 911 calls from children, but Parker’s stood out right away.
“She knew all the information. You didn’t have to prod her,” Athearn said.
Barr said he was proud to hear what Parker had done.
“It’s one of those moments where you’re glad that your parenting worked out,” Barr said.
He said she couldn’t remember part of the address, so she went outside and read the numbers off the front of the house.
“It was funny to hear the 911 call. I didn’t know she went outside the house to get the address. I don’t even recall telling her the address was up there, but she knew,” he said.
Her mother, Heather Barr, said it’s not the first time Parker has had to handle a diabetic emergency with her father. About a year ago, Matt Barr had a similar incident, and Parker had called her mother first.
Parker remembered what her mom said after that incident.
“When I called Mom the first time, she told me, ‘Next time Daddy has a low blood sugar, you need to call 911,’” Parker said.
Even though she said it was scary, Parker knows it could happen again, and she’s prepared in case it does.
Barr said that one way he and his wife teach their four kids about calling 911 is to take the batteries out of the phone and have them practice dialing.
“In any education situation, you have to get them involved. You can’t just tell them or show them,” he said.
They also go over how to tell someone their address.
“I feel bad that they have to be so prepared. There’s so much responsibility on their shoulders,” Barr said.
After seeing how composed Parker was on the scene, EMT James Nickell said he went home and started teaching his 5-year-old to be like that in an emergency.
Parker’s parents said she didn’t even think what she’d done was a big deal until she started getting media attention.
“The buzz around school definitely is that she’s a superstar,” said Rosehill Elementary School Principal Greg Lawrence.