Ordinary people became heroes when it countes

Friday, September 20, 2019

Say the word “hero” and images of a fireman, paramedic, police officer or soldier usually come to mind.

There’s good reason for that, but when an ordinary citizen leaps into action when they could have looked the other way, that truly is something special.

A couple such stories came across our desk today, brought to our attention by the law enforcement agencies involved.

For one, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office is calling Wyatt Smydra, 17, a hero.

Smydra was nearby when a pickup truck crossed the centerline in Norfolk, Neb., on Sunday, and struck an SUV head-on, both vehicles ending up in the ditch.

The teen freed the driver of the SUV by cutting her seat belt and pulling her from the vehicle before it became engulfed in flames.

That driver suffered serious injuries and was flown to a hospital, and the other driver was taken to a local hospital.

Smydra’s actions ““were nothing short of heroic and kept the driver from sustaining severe burns or worse,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Friday morning, Nebraska State Patrol Superintendent Col. John Bulduc and other commanders presented a Public Service Award to a man who may have saved a woman’s life last week.

Last Wednesday, Sept. 11, when troopers arrived, two men were talking to a female who was threatening to jump from an I-80 bridge near Greenwood.

As trooper began speaking to her, her attention was diverted enough for one of the men, Pedro Gonzalez Jurado, to race forward, grab her and pull her down from the ledge to safety.

Because the man acted quickly, and without regard for his own safety, she was taken into emergency protective care, and given a chance to receive the help she needs.

“This was an incredible act by Mr. Jurado,” said Col. John Bolduc. “He not only made the decision to stop and help, but also had a split-second reaction that may have prevented a tragedy. His entire family should be proud.”

The Nebraska State Patrol Public Service Award recognizes citizens who demonstrate significant accomplishment with regard to public safety.

“We want to remind anyone who feels they need help that there are people who care and are willing to be that help,” said Bolduc. “Pedro’s actions were a wonderful illustration of the compassion we see from Nebraskans every day.

You’ll probably have a chance to view video of the incident from the trooper’s dash camera.

But don’t think of it as just another YouTube video for your entertainment. Think of it as an inspiration for the rest of us everyday citizens to do what we can, when we can to help our fellow human beings.

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