(WKBW release) When Cody Perkins went to his friend's house to play, he had no idea he would help avert a potentially devastating tragedy.
Around 4 p.m. on May 23, while 10-year-olds Cody Perkins and Matthew Snyder played in a cornfield near Matthew's aunt's house on Route 417, the boys heard a shot fired. Cody took cover, and when he looked up, he saw Matthew was bleeding and immediately took action.
"Cody saw his friend being shot and then provided first aid by applying pressure to the wound. He stayed right there with Matt until the ambulance came. When the ambulance came, the guys asked Cody questions. He was involved much more than you would expect any fourth grade boy to ever have been," said Portville Central School Elementary Principal Charles Hild.
"It was a real dose of reality for him and something you wouldn't expect any elementary school student to have to go through. He grew up considerably in several minutes," Principal Hild added.
During a special assembly Friday afternoon at Portville Central School, Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I - Olean) surprised Cody with a New York State Senate Liberty Medal, which is awarded to individuals, regardless of age, who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of others in New York.
"Heroes come in all ages, shapes and sizes. Many adults would not react as quickly or with such level-headedness as Cody. He is a great example of someone who should receive this medal. His willingness to come to the aid of his friend in an extreme situation, at such a young age, shows maturity, courage and compassion. It is a privilege to present this medal to such an extraordinary young man," Senator Young said.
Margaret and Brian Perkins, Cody's parents, noted their excitement for their son and said this is an important recognition for him.
"I can't even say how proud I am of him. When Principal Hild told me about it, all I could say was 'awesome.' I'm excited because this is an important award for something Cody did. You never know what you're going to do or how you're going to handle something. For Cody to do what he needed to do and be able to assist in that situation is phenomenal for a 10-year-old," Mrs. Perkins said.
Mr. Perkins added, "When my wife called and told me, I was in tears. I was pleasantly surprised. I'm looking forward to seeing Cody's reaction."
Principal Hild said, "Cody is thoughtful and friendly. He has always been a good kid, and this just confirms what a good kid he is, and what he did just tells me how much concern he has for his peers. Cody took the situation in stride, did what he was told, and he's been humble about it, almost like it was all in a day's work."