Two Texans earn Red Cross Lifesaving Awards after double rescue at Bellaire Pool

Joshua Davis and Emily Heinzman at an award ceremony in December (Red Cross)

A lifeguard is being lauded as a hero after rescuing two children from a pool in Bellaire.

Joshua Davis received the Red Cross Lifesaving Award during a December ceremony after saving a four-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl from a pool at the Bellaire Family Aquatic Center back in June.

Davis assisted the children during separate incidents that occurred within 10 minutes of each other.

Bellaire Parks an Recreation described the incidents in a post on social media:

“Rescue 1) a kid jumped off the side of the diving board and got the wind knocked out of him,” the department wrote. “Joshua activated a double whistle, Pool manger Emily and Head lifeguard James rushed to assist. Joshua preformed a victim assessment and management took over. He returned to duty and signals for the next patron to go off the diving board. Rescue 2) a kid jumps off the diving board that could not swim and was actively drowning. Joshua’s quickly activated the EAP jumps into the pool to rescue the active drowning victim. Pool manger Emily and Head lifeguard James and two assisting lifeguards rushed out with the backboard, AED, and Crash bag to assist in the emergency.”

Emily Heinzman, manager at the Bellaire Town Square Family Aquatic Center in Bellaire, Texas, and the person who taught Davis his life-saving skills was awarded the Red Cross Lifesavings Award for Instructors.

In a Red Cross release, Heinzman said she is “absolutely honored” to receive the Instructor Award, but feels “a little undeserving.” 

“I was simply doing my job,” she said.

She praised Davis and described him as a “quiet, kind and friendly leader.”

“He knows his stuff, but is incredibly humble,” Heinzman told Red Cross. “Josh taught swim lessons this year for the first time, and he was a complete natural.”

Davis is an architecture and marketing major at Howard University in Washington D.C.

The national Lifesaving awards are issued by American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Lifesaving Awards are given to recognize lifesaving acts performed by individuals who used lifesaving skill taught by the American Red Cross during an incident, such as: first aid, CPR, using an AED or epinephrine auto-injector or even calling 9-1-1 and providing care.

The program considers nominees for one of the three awards: The Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action is awarded to individuals or teams with no Red Cross training; The Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders is awarded to professional responders including healthcare workers acting while on duty; and the Certificate of Merit signed by the President of the United States is awarded to Red Cross trained individuals or teams or professional responders including healthcare workers acting while off duty.

If you know of a local hero in your community who used Red Cross skills or training to save or sustain a life, you can nominate them at

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.