Eleven-year-old girl to receive badge of honour for rescuing siblings from burning house
Among the 233 outstanding Jamaicans, who will be recognised at this morning's National Honours and Awards ceremony is Toni-Ann Miller - the 11-year-old hero who went into a burning house two times within minutes to save the lives of two little boys.
A year following the incident, Toni-Ann, is to be conferred with the Badge of Honour for Gallantry at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony, on the lawns of King’s House.
Her own safety was the furthest from her mind when Toni-Ann quickly responded to the cries of a little boy who was trapped in a blazing house, with billows of black smoke signalling that he was in serious danger.
Toni-Ann recalls that she was on her way home from school with friends in the Mount Hermon community of St Catherine, when they came upon the burning structure, from which desperate cries beckoned.
After rescuing the six year old, who came away unhurt, Toni-Ann, asked him for his younger brother.
Learning he was inside sleeping, without hesitation, she again stared boldly into the face of danger, re-entering the building to take the five-year-old boy to safety.
"Half of the bed was burning,” Toni-Ann recalls.
The younger boy sustained minor burns to one of his arms.
But what inspired Toni-Ann to do this act of bravery?
"I saw my father doing it already," said Toni-Ann.
Confirming that he carried out an act of braveness about a year and a half ago, Melvern Miller said he is humbled that his daughter has followed in his footsteps, and is happy she was not harmed.
Recalling the incident with laughter in his voice, Miller said when he realised that a house in the Westmoreland yard in which he was living in was on fire, he raised an alarm and had to break down the door to rescue his brother and sister-in-law.
He also dragged his nephew from the burning house.
However, the 39-year-old carpenter says he is taken aback by the level of bravery displayed by his first child.
Miller who is also the father of a three-year-old son lives with his children and his common-law wife, Kadian Johnson in Bay Road, Westmoreland.
Toni-Ann who was a student of the Mount Hermon Primary School in St Catherine at the time of the incident is now in grade six at the Good Hope Primary School in Red Ground also in St Catherine.
In recognition of her bravery, Toni-Ann has already been rewarded by the Jamaica Fire Brigade, receiving a trophy, bed, bedding and a basket of goodies including books and other school supplies.
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