By Linda Waggener
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Campbellsville University freshman Alexander Nima Violet was given a special award for having pulled two people from a burning vehicle at the Taylor County Fire Department annual awards dinner Dec. 6.
“Each year we look back at runs we’ve had,” said Taylor County Firefighter Howard Dobson who presented the award to Violet, “and we recognize those involved in any extraordinary circumstances. On the night of Sept. 25, just after 9 p.m., we were dispatched to an accident with a vehicle on fire. The location was on Highway 55 at the intersection of Lone Valley Road. Multiple people were in both vehicles. One person, came upon the accident and was successful in getting two or more victims out of the vehicles, drastically improving their chances for survival — for this act we give the Above and Beyond Award to Alexander Violet.”
Violet, 24, said that he frequently seeks the quiet of Green River Lake State Park as a place to study. On that night he was on his way back to campus when he became the first on the scene of the car and van collision.
“The car caught on fire,” Violet remembers, “and I immediately pulled into a safe zone and got the first aid kit from the trunk.” As he ran across the highway to the scene, hearing frantic screams to call 911 and get an extinguisher, his mind was assessing the situation.
All of his training as an Active Navy Corpsman came into play that night. Officially he is an HM-NEC 8404, Field Medical Service Technician serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. He is highly trained in operational and emergency medicine and trauma management.
In order to get the situation under control as quickly as possible, Violet yelled, “everyone who can hear me, listen up — I need you to move to the safe zone if you are able,” and pointed to the area he hoped those who were able to would go.
Once those who could move did so, but before an unconscious man in the vehicle could be gotten to, he found an unconscious little girl in her child safety seat and got her out through the window. After getting her to safety, Violet quickly checked others who had been able to get away from the wreck, finding that while several had cuts and lacerations, none were life threatening, so he returned to the burning car.
“I could feel the heat of the flames on my face but couldn’t leave the one unconscious man in the car,” he said. When Violet saw that he was going to have to have help, he called out and someone came to his side. Two men working together were able to pull the victim out of the wreckage. Violet said that his training enabled him to recognize the symptoms of someone whose chances of survival were extremely poor, so he made sure that the unconscious man was first to be gotten to the emergency personnel as soon as they arrived.
Campbellsville University President, Dr. Michael Carter, said, “Congratulations to Alexander on receiving this award from the Taylor County Fire Department. His act of heroism is noteworthy and exemplifies the spirit of Christian service that we stress.”
Carter also noted that he was grateful to CU Trustee Dr. E. Bruce Heilman for guiding Violet to Campbellsville University. “I have been impressed with him since he first arrived on the campus,” Carter said, “and he is to be commended for having served his country.”
The GI Bill enabled Violet, a native of France who has lived in Texas since he was 15, to come to CU right out of service. He is a member of the CU Student Government Association, a member of the Pre-Law Society and is actively organizing a Veteran’s Club here.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S. News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.