Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010

Karls Paul-Noel

Ever since I was a boy, I've admired firefighters for a simple reason: courage. Their job is to rush into a situation while everyone else rushes out. The firefighters who have been my heroes view their daily routine not as a job but as a calling.

Karls Paul-Noel, 53, is that kind of firefighter, and his compassion outranks even his bravery. The assistant fire chief for operations for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Paul-Noel is the highest-ranking Haitian-American firefighter in the U.S. When the massive earthquake struck Haiti, he didn't hesitate.

Less than 24 hours after the quake, Paul-Noel's team was searching pancaked schools and houses, digging among smashed desks, cinder blocks and the bodies of the dead to find signs of life. His team found 11 survivors in Port-au-Prince, including four children.

Even within his remarkable profession, he's extraordinary. His résumé reads like Superman's: trained as a paramedic, service instructor and marine firefighter, he's taught life support to adults and children. It's been said that he who saves a single life saves the world. Karls Paul-Noel has saved the world too many times to count.

Giuliani is a former mayor of New York City and chairman and CEO of Giuliani Partners

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