Orange Beach resident, Chandler Rayborn, was recognized Monday, Nov. 2 in an official letter of commendation by the Orange Beach City Council and Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling.
During the night of Sept. 16, as Hurricane Sally was pounding Orange Beach, Chandler woke up around midnight and saw flames out his window. He called 911, woke his parents Melissa and Jack and got them outside and then went to the next-door neighbor’s house. Clint and Sue Saunders were sound asleep as their home burned. The Rayborn family banged until they were able to rouse the Saunders and get them out of the house.
As the Chandler and Saunders families awaited fire crews, the fire jumped to the Chandler home. Orange Beach firemen had to swim hoses down Jubilee Point Road as the water was chest deep. Both homes burned to the ground, but the firemen were able to prevent any further spread to neighboring homes.
Jeff Boyd, council chairman pro tem, a neighbor to Rayborn, made the presentation.
“Tonight, we’re here as a special occasion because Chandler is a true hero. He’s a true hero in our neighborhood, in our hearts. I’m proud of you. The Saunders may not be here had you not woke up that night and not done the heroic act that you did,” Boyd said.
Boyd presented Rayborn with the framed letter of commendation signed by Mayor Tony Kennon and the City Council and a city challenge coin. As explained in the letter, challenge coins are presented by the city to individuals who go above and beyond the call of civic duty to make a difference in the community. The coin represents the city’s values: “Integrity, Excellence and Family.”
Chief Mike Kimmerling presented Rayborn with a special Orange Beach Fire Rescue helmet.
“Well, I make this comment quite a bit about the fire service. The fire service is the ultimate team sport. We have to work as a team to accomplish all of the things that we talked about here today. And that team doesn’t just mean personnel on the fire service, but it means people who live in our community as well. Without some of these quick actions: recognition of this being an emergency, making that call to 911, getting us there, directing us to where we need to be, we may not have been able to make the difference that happened that night. So, I again want to commend you very much for your work to do this,” Kimmerling said.