Palmetto boy, 5, recognized as hero for phone call

rdymond@bradenton.comFebruary 25, 2014 

PALMETTO -- Five-year-old Alex Foley learned from his dad how to call for help in an emergency.

On Feb. 2 during Super Bowl Sunday festivities, while Alex's dad was at a party, Alex's mother, Amber Foley, assistant city clerk for Palmetto, fell unconscious from heat exhaustion and dehydration.

"Alex called his dad and said, 'Mommy won't wake up,' " Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant said Monday during a Palmetto City Commission meeting.

Alex's two younger sisters were home with him. He put a movie on for them to keep them calm while his dad raced home, Groover Bryant said.

Amber Foley's husband was able to help revive his wife and get her medical attention thanks to Alex, Bry

ant said.

For his actions, Alex was recognized with a special Palmetto Hero Award on Monday.

"Teach your kids how to reach someone on a phone," Groover Bryant told the audience.

Alex's award was part of a busy February meeting. In other action:

• By 3-2 vote, commissioners approved an electronic Green Bridge gateway entrance sign not to exceed $75,000.

The sign, which will be erected on the landscaped area facing south set back at the base of the Green Bridge. will say "City of Palmetto" but also can alert motorists to accidents and even the closure of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Groover Bryant said.

It can flash a different message every eight seconds.

"I'm delighted," Groover Bryant said. "I think it's crucial to have a welcoming gateway sign to greet people coming into the city."

Commissioners Tambra Varnadore and Brian Williams voted against the sign. Varnadore said it was too expensive and Williams felt the money should have been divided up for signs for all Palmetto gateways.

• Commissioners unanimously approved a special function permit for the 2014 DeSoto Seafood Festival, which will come to Palmetto April 4-6 after 29 years in downtown Bradenton.

"This is a real win for us," Varnadore said. "It's a huge opportunity to get our feet wet putting on a well-established event. I want to invite everyone over."

Admission to the event, which will be held around a huge stage between Sutton and Lamb parks, will cost $3 and to hear singer Travis Tritt on Friday night and Vanilla Ice on Saturday night, said Gary Kortzendorf, chairman of the DeSoto Seafood Festival.

An crowd of 30,000 is expected, Kortzendorf said.

• Waste Management of Florida Inc., which has been Palmetto's garbage hauler for about a decade, was granted a 10-month contract extension Monday to prepare a bid proposal to continue as the city refuse hauler.

"The city of Palmetto has the lowest rate in Manatee County," Waste Management consultant Rose Quin-Bare said Monday. "But everyone seems to want to go to bid these days. It's the economy."

Competitors, including Progressive and Waste Pro, are competing for the Palmetto contract, Quin-Bare said.

• Commissioners mourned the passing of Sylvia King Wood, who worked at Palmetto High School as a bookkeeper, cheerleading sponsor and many other duties for roughly 30 years and recently died after a heart attack.

"I called her Miss PHS," Groover Bryant said.

"People would say to her, 'You can't retire until my kids are through school,' " Varnadore said.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @ RichardDymond.

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