WESTVILLE – Terry O'Toole, who described himself as, "just a guy who wanted to help," was honored Thursday for his role in rescuing a child from a burning mobile home.
Representatives of the Westville Area Fire Protection District, the Georgetown Fire Protection District, the Westville Village Board and the Illinois General Assembly were on hand at the Westville fire department's administration building to recognize the 39-year-old Georgetown resident for his heroism.
On the morning of Jan. 5, O'Toole and his wife were driving through Westville when they saw a column of white smoke. They drove over to investigate, and learned that the smoke was coming from a burning mobile home at 121 Wisconsin St., and that three children were trapped inside the structure.
O'Toole ran inside the mobile home and helped lead 4-year-old Addison Booe to safety. Addison's twin brother, Arrisson, and their 18-month-old brother, Brayden, died in the fire.
The boys' mother, Jennifer Booe, suffered burns to her face, upper arms, shoulders and chest.
Steve Doggett, president of the Westville Area Fire Protection District, presented O'Toole with a plaque and thanked him for his bravery.
State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, presented O'Toole with a framed Certificate of Recognition from the Illinois General Assembly and said he was the right man, in the right place, at the right time.
"During a fire, when every fiber of the body says to run away, rescuers run in," Black said. "I can't thank you enough for what you do."
O'Toole said he did not expect the honors, but would look at the plaques and think about the child he saved, and the two he could not.
"I have a lot of respect for what he did," Doggett said. "He deserves everything he receives."