December 27, 2021 10:05:10 am
Written by Eduardo Medina
Davyon Johnson, 11, couldn’t quite understand it: the pizza party, the accolades from the mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma, his picture in the newspaper and on television — and the word that had been linked to his name: hero.
Why, the sixth grader asked his mother, was he being rewarded for doing the right thing?
“I told him, ‘You saved two people’s lives,’ ” said LaToya Johnson, Davyon’s mother. “‘That is special.’ ”
And so began a whirlwind December for Davyon, who lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma; who loves wrestling, basketball, remote-controlled cars and “Fortnite”; and who was honored by his community this month for saving the life of a fellow student who was choking and an older woman who was escaping a house fire, both on the same day, Dec. 9.
The Muskogee Police Department and Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office presented Davyon with a certificate Dec. 15, naming him an honorary member of their forces.
“Always willing to help, always just a friend to everyone,” Latricia Dawkins, the principal at Dayvon’s school in the Muskogee public school district, said Sunday.
“He said to me: ‘I don’t want everyone to pay attention to me. I kind of did what I was supposed to do,’ ” Dawkins said, adding, “I don’t think he actually internalized how important the feat was that he did.”
All Davyon knows is that on the morning of Dec. 9 he was by the water fountain at school when he heard a seventh-grade boy whisper through gasps: “I’m choking. I’m choking.”
The boy had opened a water bottle with his mouth, and its cap slipped into his throat, Dawkins said.
Davyon wrapped his arms around the student’s abdomen and performed the Heimlich maneuver, a technique he had learned on YouTube after being inspired by his uncle, Wendell Johnson, an emergency medical technician. Davyon said he had wanted to be an emergency medical worker since he was 6. Now, watching the boy choke, he had a sense of what the job would require.
He squeezed the boy’s abdomen once.
Another squeeze. The boy was still gasping for air.
Finally on the third squeeze, the cap flew out.
When emergency medical workers arrived, Dawkins said, Davyon kept asking the boy if he was OK. The boy recovered and was fine the next day, she said.
“He acts like he’s about 80,” she said of Davyon. “He’s definitely an old soul.”
LaToya Johnson picked up her son, who she said was a bit shaken up. They had church service later that evening, so they went home, rested and then got back on the road.
That’s when life No. 2 was saved.
It was about 5 p.m. when Johnson spotted smoke coming from a house.
“I didn’t think nothing of it, but he was like, ‘No, Momma, this is a house on fire,’ ” Johnson recalled her son saying.
She turned the car around, and there it was: a small fire near the back of the house.
There were cars outside. The screen door was shut. It faintly smelled like burned wood. If people were inside, Johnson said, they appeared to be unaware of the growing fire. She honked her horn and called 911 as Davyon got out of the car, walked to the front door and knocked.
Five people in the house stepped outside, saw what was happening and ran, Johnson said. A sixth person, however, was having trouble. She was older and was using a walker.
“She wasn’t moving fast enough,” Davyon said. “So I’ve got to kind of help her get to her truck because everybody was leaving.”
They arrived at the woman’s truck. The sun was setting, and church services would begin soon, so Davyon said goodbye to the woman, whom he didn’t know, and got into his mother’s car. As they prepared to pull away, he looked out the window and could see the red and white flashing lights of a fire truck.
He had seen this before. When he was 8 years old, he watched his father enter a burning apartment complex in Muskogee to make sure everyone was safe. His father, Willie James Logan, was not a firefighter, but he had done the right thing that day, Davyon said.
“I look up to my dad,” he said.
On Aug. 19, Davyon’s father died from COVID-19. He was 52.
Unless asked by others, Davyon does not tell people what he did Dec. 9. And when he is asked, he describes it all briefly, without fuss.
“The right thing to do.” That’s how he puts it.
But there was one person he did want to tell. One morning this month, he put on his sneakers and gray hoodie and went to the cemetery to see his father.
He squatted, picked at the dirt and started to tell the stories, beginning with the scene at the water fountain.