Emergency workers surround St. Michael kindergarten student Virtuous Rose Bennett during a special presentation at her school Wednesday in Ripley. Bennett was honored for saving the life of her grandmother, Beverly Lipps, by calling 911.

RIPLEY, Ohio – If heroes are truly made and not born, a kindergartner from St. Michael School in Ripley, made herself into a hero two weeks ago.

Students and community members gathered Wednesday at St. Michael as kindergartener Virtuous Rose Bennett was honored by the city of Ripley for calling 911 to save her grandmother’s life.

Howard McClain, a lieutenant with the Ripley Life Squad, told the students about the incident, asking them to name heroes.

Answers included fictional heroes such as Batman and Wonder Woman as well as real-life heroes such as soldiers and police officers.

“What a hero is is somebody who does something courageous,” McClain said. “Two weeks ago, one of you became a leader and a hero.”

McClain said that a true hero is someone who steps out of their comfort zone and does something truly amazing.

“About two weeks ago, Rose knew that her grandmother was very, very ill,” McClain said. “She knew that her grandmother was not acting the way she normally would, so Rose picked up the telephone and called 911.”

According to McClain, Rose's grandmother was suffering from a stroke.

Five-year-old Rose remained calm while talking to the 911 dispatchers who activated the life squad, according to McClain.

“Rose remained calm. She told us that something was not right and her grandmother was ill, so she called 911.” McClain said. “This is a hero. She did something that stepped out of her comfort zone. She remained calm, courageous and she helped her grandmother.”

EMS presented Bennett with a certificate that read “911 Hero Award, presented to Virtuous Rose Bennett showing bravery and saving a life. You are amazing, you are strong, you are smart and most of all, you are a hero.”

Life squad members also presented Bennett with a shirt that said “Future Cadet of the Ripley EMS.”

Bennett met the members of Brown County Air-Evac and Ripley Life Squad who helped save her grandmother, Beverly Lipps’, life. Lipps was flown to the University of Cincinnati where she received medical treatment.

“Without Rose we wouldn’t have been able to play a part,” said Program Director Jonathan McKinnish of Air-Evac 89 Brown County. “The chain of survival and all of the steps that took place to get Rose’s grandmother to where she was able to walk in today started with this 9-1-1 call.”

“I’m very proud of her. It takes my heart, I’m kind of in tears,” Lipps said, “It still brings me to tears to think that she saved my life. I’m very proud of her and it means a lot to me. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for that little girl.”

Bennett said she has discussed the incident with her granddaughter a bit.

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“I asked her ‘Why did you call 911’ and she said ‘Because you were really sick, grandma, you were really sick,” Lipps said.

Lipps said that Bennett is a good girl and never lets anything get in the way of anything she wants to do. She said that Bennett, who has a prosthetic leg due to a birth defect, would be playing ball even when she was on a walker.

“She’s just a ball of energy, she’s always very positive. She comes in with a great attitude and a smile on her face,” said St. Michael School principal Andy Arn. “Everything could be going chaotic around her and she would be able to stay under control and focused on what she’s supposed to be doing.”

McClain also provided the students in attendance with a bit of knowledge on how important 911 is, and the importance of only using it for emergencies.

“You don’t have to be a grownup to be a leader. You don’t have to be an eighth grader to be a leader,” Arn said to the students. “You can be a leader no matter how big or how small you are.”

He told the children that leaders lead by example and do the right thing, no matter how hard it is.

Life squad members who participated in the 911 call included EMT Curtis Henderson, EMT Emily Madison, EMT Danielle McClain, McClain and paramedic Doug Bentley. They were assisted by AirEvac 89 flight paramedic Craig Hauke and Flight Nurse Trish Berger. The dispatcher was Dispatch Supervisor Christy Drake.

Both Bennett and Lipps got an opportunity to thank the emergency personnel who responded to the call.


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