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Two men who helped one U.S. Army family were honored this week.
Todd Matti, an officer with the Brandenburg Police Department, and Larry Naser, chief of the Meade County Fire Protection District, received the Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service. Matti and Naser were honored for saving the life of Wyatt Bean, the son of retired Fort Knox soldier Justin Bean.
Approved by Secretary of the Army John McHugh, the award hasn’t been given from Fort Knox in several decades, said Tom McKnight, deputy chief of operations of the Human Resources Command.
Wyatt Bean, a senior at Meade County High School, collapsed at track practice in August 2012 and went into cardiac arrest. Matti and Naser were the first responders and were able to resuscitate him and enable him to be transported to University Hospital in Louisville.
Brig. Gen. Margarett Barnes presented the awards Thursday at the Meade County fire station in Brandenburg.
“It’s definitely a great day for the Army family,” Barnes said.
The award is given to civilians who have demonstrated significant humanitarian actions, and Barnes said it was evident why the men were deserving.
“You only have to look at Wyatt here, here with us today, to comprehend” what Matti and Naser accomplished, she said.
Without them, “a different situation could have occurred,” she said.
Justin Bean said there was not enough that could be done to thank the two men for their actions. Sherri Bean, Wyatt’s mother, said she thought the award for Matti and Naser was amazing.
“If it wasn’t for them, Wyatt wouldn’t be here,” she said.
Wyatt Bean said he was overcome with that thought every time he saw the two men.
“Every time I see them, I’m like, you saved my life,” he said.
Matti and Naser both were quick to deflect the praise. Matti said he was simply doing his job that day, but he appreciates the recognition.
“It’s a great honor, it’s humbling,” he said.
Naser said his whole team assisted him in helping Bean.
“Every once in a while, you’re in the right place at the right time with the right tools to save somebody’s life,” he said. “And that’s pretty cool.”
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.