Celina firefighter recognized for heroic efforts on Southwest plane accident

Published: Jun. 1, 2018 at 4:24 PM CDT
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Congressman John Ratcliffe paid a visit to the Celina Fire Department Friday morning to award Andrew Needum an award he said only seven Texans have received.

"We are grateful for what you did and we are grateful for the person who you are," the Congressman said to Needum.

Needum was recognized with the Lone Star Award for his heroic efforts to save the life of New Mexico mother, Jennifer Riordan. She was hit by shrapnel that broke a window on a Southwest plane in April when the plane's engine failed. Witnesses said Needum jumped into action, pulling her from the window and performing CPR. But Riordan's injuries were too severe and she died at a hospital.

"There were many people on that plane that stood up and acted," Needum said. "It's a humbling experience to be here before you today."

Ratcliff created the Lone Star Award about 3 years ago. It's given only to Texans who have put others before themselves.

"It's natural for a lot of folks to run from danger," Ratcliffe said."But Andrew ran towards danger because there was another person who was fighting for her life."

The firefighter said God put him on that flight for a reason and credits his family teaching him to not just be a bystander, but to do the right thing.

“They’re still heavy on our hearts and minds but we are grateful for days like this that we can celebrate the actions that took place on that flight,” Needum said.