Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper honored for saving a life

Miss HP MSgt receives award

Mississippi Highway Patrol Master Sgt. David Blackwell is known as a hardworking man who doesn't know how to slow down.  "The one thing I can say about him is he works too much," MHP Lt. Steven Crawford said.  Crawford, who is with the highway patrol's special operations group, and Blackwell, who works out of Troop M, headquartered in Brookhaven, have worked together for about 12 years, but have known each other much longer, having grown up in the same area and played ball together, and against each other, in school.  "He's got a good work ethic," Crawford said.  "He's worked his way up through the ranks (at MHP)."  Blackwell also spends time with his son, 6-year-old Kiptyn Blackwell, and 2-year-old daughter, Aubrey Blackwell.  He plans to marry fiancee Victoria Putfark in May.  In addition to working for the highway patrol, Blackwell officiates at various sporting events - a job he's done for 20 years.  It was at one of the football games last year that Blackwell's training came into play, and it helped him save a friend's life.  Blackwell was officiating a West Jones vs. George County game alongside friend and fellow official David Bullock when Bullock collapsed on the field in the fourth quarter.  Blackwell used some of the skills he had that week learned as a trooper during his participation in the National Association of Underwater Instructors' Public Safety Diving course at the University of Southern Mississippi to save his friend's life.   "He was able to jump in and call the shots," said Bill Powe, Aquatics and Outdoor Adventures coordinator at Southern Miss.  Blackwell was able to get Bullock resuscitated and oversaw his care until an ambulance arrived to take over.  Powe, who also oversees the scuba program at Southern Miss, said Blackwell was able to take control of the situation and get someone to bring the automated external defibrillator to where he was providing aid to Bullock, who had suffered a heart attack on the field.  "He learned there is a value behind having an AED there and using it — that’s what saved his friend's life," Powe said.  Powe said Blackwell and other troopers had been participating in a monthlong training program at Southern Miss that helped the MHP certify officers for its special ops dive team.  The class the troopers had just finished was the American Red Cross Waterfront Lifeguarding course, which included CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and First Aid.  "He told me he had done CPR several times, but because of the training he went through in the program - that’s what saved friend’s life," Powe said.  Because of his efforts, Blackwell, 38, of the Dexter community, was honored for his efforts with an American Red Cross Certificate of Merit, a National Lifesaving Award

3/6/20

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