Four honored with Citizen Lifesaving Award

Monday, November 5, 2007 | 9:26 p.m. CST; updated 1:59 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Fire Department awarded its Citizen Lifesaving Award to four individuals at the City Council meeting Monday night. The recipients are Michael Williams, Brian Heiberger, Randy Plattner and Michael Linzie-Hayes.



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Randy Plattner, a teacher in the Marshall Public School district, sat down to a meal in April at Columbia’s Olive Garden while in town for the Missouri Future Farmers of America state convention.

Tatiana Sosova and her family, including son-in-law Mike Williams, sat at a nearby table.

Olive Garden Culinary Manager Brian Heiberger was busy overseeing the kitchen.

Then, Sosova began to choke. Williams, a respiratory therapist, began to administer the Heimlich maneuver. He had helped choking victims many times before in a hospital, but never in this sort of unexpected situation.

“I tried, like, three times,” Williams said. “She was starting to turn blue.”

When Williams was unable to dislodge the food, Heiberger stepped in.

But food was still lodged in Sosova’s throat after both men’s attempts.

Then, Plattner tried, and the food popped out.

Together, the three men saved Sosova’s life, the Fire Department said.

On Monday night, the three men smiled quietly before receiving their award. They spoke humbly about their achievement.

“I’d do it again if I had to,” Williams said.


Michael Linzie-Hayes’ mouth dropped open when Mayor Darwin Hindman handed the 11-year-old a gold star-shaped medal. Linzie-Hayes met with a round of applause. Normally, applause isn’t allowed in the City Council chambers.

“You did exactly the right thing. I’m proud of you, and the community is proud of you,” Hindman said.

On Oct.9, Linzie-Hayes heard a smoke alarm go off when he was sitting on his neighbor’s back porch. He walked around the house looking for the noise and discovered smoke coming from the vents on the other side of his duplex at 2606 Quail Drive.

Linzie-Hayes knew what to do. He had seen it on TV.

He ran back to his neighbors, and told them to call 911. He knew not to run inside a house on fire. He started yelling for his mom, Montalee Burks, who was inside the duplex.

The Fire Department told him he had possibly saved his mother from injury and prevented further damage to the house with his quick actions.

“Do you have anything you’d like to say?” Hindman asked Linzie-Hayes on Monday night.

“Everyone can be a hero once in a while,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to stand up.”

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