American Heroes on Interstate 35 Two men get the FedEx Award for heroism.

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Sep 8, 2016 No Comments ›› admin

By Lynn Woolley

This is more than a feel-good story. This is an example of how we all should act.

On March, 10th of this year, a FedEx diver named Wallace Altom needed a hero. He got two. His truck crashed into a barrier in the middle of the massive construction on I-35. The truck burst into flames, and Altom was trapped. But he was lucky that DPS Sgt. D.L. Wilson happened to be driving behind him and saw the truck engulfed in a fireball. The heat was immense.

Robert Sneed and D. L. Wilson (Photo:  Deborah McKeon - Temple Daily Telegram)

Robert Sneed and D. L. Wilson (Photo: Deborah McKeon – Temple Daily Telegram)

Then he saw Altom crawling out from underneath the fire.

He tried, but couldn’t pull him to safety. That’s when he saw a private citizen – Robert Sneed — climbing over a 7-foot wall, jumping down and running to help. The two men were able to drag Altom clear of the fire. Both have been honored with a FedEx Heroism Award in Austin. If I, or my family, are ever in danger, I hope these guys are close by.

Deborah McKeon’s reporting in the Temple Daily Telegram explains how Mr. Sneed got involved.

The FedEx Award presented on August 31, 2016

The FedEx Award presented on August 31, 2016

Sneed had simply heard the impact of the accident and rushed to see if he could help. He jumped into his Jeep 4×4 and drove across a muddy construction area, drove through barricades and up a bridge under construction to get to the wall. He had to climb over the wall to reach the accident.

Ms. McKeon quoted Trooper Wilson:

“I was very appreciative to be honored with the prestigious award. I was just doing my job that I am trained for. I am more proud that we have citizens like Mr. Sneed that will come to the aid of others in need.”

Trooper Wilson is modest. He did his job well. As for Mr. Sneed – my hat is off. Soon after the accident, he told a Telegram reporter:

“I just wish people would take responsibility for the wellbeing of others. It was strange that I had a discussion withy my son the night before about doing what is right and leaving a good legacy behind when you go. Ten hours later, I was facing one of those life-altering moments in the eyes.”

Mr. Sneed’s son is lucky to have a father who’s bringing him up this way.

This is called “citizenship.”   the-good-guy

It’s not taught in our schools and we don’t have nearly enough of it. I look at what’s going on in America today with aspects of our society pitted against each other and I want to cry for my country.

Some years ago, I read a novel by Dean Koontz called “The Good Guy.”

It was about a guy who met a girl in a bar and learned that she was in trouble and her life was in danger. She had nowhere to turn and no one to help. The protagonist of the novel put his life in danger to save her – because it was the right thing to do.

I was so impressed that I wrote a long letter to Dean Koontz, telling the author that I had often wondered if “doing the right thing” was a true value in America anymore. I told him that I was inspired by the theme of his book and that I wished I had written it.

Mr. Koontz’s author bio at the end of his books lists a P.O. Box in Newport Beach and explains that he gets so much mail that personal replies are impossible. I got a personal reply. Mr. Koontz sent me a long, personal letter, copies of his newsletter, and a signed, advance copy of his next novel.

Doing the right thing can indeed be cool.

I have worked with charities. I have written books and columns and made speeches. I have never found myself in a situation where I could place myself in danger to save the life of a perfect stranger. If that ever happens, I hope I can live up to the example set by the fictional hero in Mr. Koontz’s novel – and two real life heroes named D. L. Wilson and Robert Sneed.

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