CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Eddie Pitmon got a standing ovation from teachers, administrators and fellow students Tuesday afternoon at Brainerd High, as well as a handful of surprise gifts.
The shy freshman is still on crutches, the aftermath of injuries he suffered when rescuing his younger brother and sister from their burning home just before Thanksgiving. Hailed as a hero by firefighters and neighbors, a stage full of dignitaries paid tribute to him at a special "Panther Pride Spirit" assembly.
Herbert "Book" McCray, director of a local youth group known as Boys-To-Men praised Eddie for his quick thinking, as did School Board member Jeffrey Wilson and County Commissioner Greg Beck. Captain David Brooks of the Chattanooga Fire Department represented the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, applauding Eddie for making sure his younger family members could get out of the burning home alive. The home was a total loss, and the family lost everything in the fire.
Principal Uras Agee and Hamilton County Schools director Dr. Marvin Lott cheered the audience further by announcing the presentation of $500 in cash to the family, collected by teachers and students at Brainerd High. WRCB news anchor David Carroll also made a surprise presentation to Eddie, with $100 gift cards to Pizza Hut, Subway, TJ Maxx and Toys R Us, along with a crisp new 100-dollar bill, all courtesy of Chattanooga's North American Credit Services.
Eddie drew a laugh from the audience when he admitted he liked pizza, sandwiches and clothes, but not toys. However he said, his little brother and sister still like toys, so he would be able to get them something for Christmas. His mother Sharon Pitmon, and younger siblings David Gladden III and Teonna Gladden shared the stage with Eddie.