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Junior firefighter honored for lifesaving effort; Stains first to respond when man had fatal heart attack

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 7/31/19

The day started out like any other.

On the evening of June 30, 15-year-old Anthony Stains was riding his bike down Eshelman Street to the Highspire Fire Department, where he’s a junior …

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Junior firefighter honored for lifesaving effort; Stains first to respond when man had fatal heart attack

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The day started out like any other.

On the evening of June 30, 15-year-old Anthony Stains was riding his bike down Eshelman Street to the Highspire Fire Department, where he’s a junior firefighter.

But then he saw a man lying face down in the middle of the road.

“I just kind of froze for a second,” Stains said. “But then I realized that I needed to find a way to help him.”

The man was 59-year-old Noel “Scott” McGoyne.

Earlier, McGoyne had texted his wife, Tracy, that he was walking home the several blocks from his sister Brenda’s house on Eshelman Street and he would see her soon.

Fifteen minutes later, she still didn’t see him.

Scott’s brother Gary called, asking if she had seen him. Tracy started to look for him when Gary called again, saying that she needed to get to Eshelman Street.

“I came around the corner and everybody was here, and they were standing over him doing CPR,” Tracy said.

McGoyne had suffered a massive heart attack. Doctors told Tracy that he was dead before he hit the ground.

“There’s so many things going through your head at the time, but you realize that you have to do what you’re trained to do, and that is to help save him,” Stains said.

Stains called 911. He knew McGoyne wasn’t breathing or responding. The dispatcher walked Stains through giving chest compressions until the first responders arrived.

Although Stains isn’t certified in CPR, he said he plans to be in the future. You have to stay focused while doing chest compressions, he said.

“After that I actually did get emotional because you know, it’s hard to see a guy just lying there, not responding,” Stains said.

Stains couldn’t have done anything, Tracy said.

“But he tried, and a lot of young kids don’t try to do anything. They just walk away from it,” she said.

“He’s a hero in our eyes. We will never forget him. He’s a hero,” Brenda said. She said she believes God put Stains in the right place to find him.

At Highspire Citizens Fire Company No. 1, there was a rush to find out what happened when they heard a fire chief was needed on scene, Vice President Ann Tripp said. Stains went to the fire department afterward. Members of the company made sure to be at the department to make sure Stains was OK.

Tripp said she was “absolutely” proud of him.

This isn’t something that junior firefighters usually go through. In fact, Tripp said this is the first time a Highspire junior firefighter has experienced this.

“He just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Tripp said.

He liked to meet people

McGoyne’s death has been hard, said Tracy.

Scott was born in Denver and has three siblings, including one brother with whom he served in the National Guard.

He met Tracy when he was the maintenance person in her apartment in Augusta, Maine. They were married for 35 years.

“He wanted to give me the world,” Tracy said.

They moved to the area in the early 2000s because their son, Michael, who passed away in 2005, was going to Milton Hershey School. He has one daughter and granddaughter.

About four years ago, Scott and Tracy opened Smokin’ Sweet in Saturday’s Market where they sold hookahs, pipes and homemade products such as soaps and bath bombs.

Scott was funny and liked to joke. He was fair and liked people. Brenda said he loved walking different routes home so that he could meet different people.

Firefighting family

Fighting fires runs in Stains’ family — his grandfather was a firefighter for years.

“I really liked firefighting, even growing up as a kid,” he said.

Stains, who goes to Middletown Area High School, has been a junior firefighter for about six months and is one of two at the Highspire department.

Even though being a junior firefighter doesn’t mean that Stains can do the “cool stuff” that firefighters do, he can still go out on fire calls and help the community. That is until they are old enough to take the required classes to become a firefighter, Tripp added.

Stains wants to be a firefighter; Tripp said he has to wait until he’s old enough. He has to be 18 to take interior training classes, although he can already take classes such as introduction to fire service, exterior fire and fire ground support.

“It’s definitely an experience that I’m going to have to get used to because you’re going to see that a lot more often, even though it’s not a good thing. Now that I’ve experienced it once, I’m going to know how it feels for the future times,” he said.

Stains received recognition from the borough and an accommodation of heroism from the fire department during the July 16 borough council meeting.

“It was honestly a surprise for me,” Stains said.

After being recognized, the audience erupted in applause and borough council thanked Stains.

“I was just surprised. It meant so much to them that I did something for the community. I just didn’t expect it,” Stains said.

Afterward, Scott’s family gave him a blanket and a green bracelet that says “Donate Life” because Scott had donated his body for science.

“They wanted to give it to me so that I can remember him,” Stains said.

Stains was humble, Brenda said.

“Not many kids would do that,” Tracy said.