Good News Americans #7

This Good Samaritan didn’t hesitate.  Tammi Arrington, from Mississippi, was visiting a friend in Texas, when, on a Sunday morning, she spotted a car that had burst into flames.  She jumped into action, pulling 58-year-old Dennis Brown (Dallas) from his burning rental car. Two things of note here: (1) Without hesitating, a woman, alone, was able to pull an adult man out of his flame-engulfed vehicle, and (2) Not your usual older male, Mr. Brown is paralyzed below the waist!  Said Brown later: “It’s kind of dawned on me the kind of danger I was in.  If it wasn’t for Tammi, I don’t know how I possibly would’ve gotten out.  I wouldn’t be here today if not for Tammi.”  Dennis Brown managed to find Tammi days later to properly thank her for her timely rescue. A courageous woman sprang into action to rescue a fellow citizen in grave danger of being burned alive.  A great life-saving story of compassion and grit.

When 55-year-old retired Utah state park ranger, Joe Donnell, who was kayaking at the time, observed a driver-less truck that had just slid into that same reservoir. Without hesitating, he pulled off his life jacket, dove into the water, and swam to the submerged truck to search for anyone inside. He entered and looked all around, not spotting anyone.  He kept searching, again entering through the rear door, and, while extending his arms toward the front seat, he actually found and grabbed a young boy “floating near the top of the front windshield.”  Donnell held onto the boy and swam to the surface. The boy, submerged for several minutes by this time, wasn’t breathing and had no pulse.  Individuals on the scene administered CPR and a slight pulse was found.  The boy was quickly transported to a hospital in critical condition. Miraculously, he recovered!  Donnell recalled that he “just had a real sense of calm about me. I didn’t panic, so I just thought that it was God putting me in the right place, at the right time, and giving me the skills and the courage to do it.”  Joe Donnell is very much a hero and will be receiving the Carnegie Medal, “an award offered to extraordinary heroes risking their lives to help others.”

Police officer heroism in action. With two adult males struggling against strong rip tide currents, upon arriving at the scene, Flagler Beach (Florida) Police Department Officer, Dylan Coffman, quickly pulled off his protective vest, jumped a fence, ran to the water and dove in, swimming toward, and saving, both men who were now well out in the water. Both men were OK and expected to be fine after recovering from their frightening ordeal. This bold officer’s immediate action to swim to their aid is to be lauded.  Said one eyewitness: “I’d never seen anything like it. It was shocking, at the same time heartwarming, to see that a first responder would just jump into action like that, and it was great.”  Kudos to this take-action officer for likely saving the quickly-fatiguing lives of these two men being dragged out to sea by unyielding rip currents.  Yet another example of the bravery in action of our nation’s great police, fire, and medical first responders.

A Warren, Michigan police officer had pulled a vehicle over for speeding. And fortunate that he did. The driver was heading to a hospital as quickly as he could because, inside, his sister’s 18-month-old baby had stopped breathing! As Officer Brendan Fraser approached the vehicle, the driver shouted: “Help, help, we got a baby here dying.”  The officer’s first impression had been: “I thought he was racing somebody or maybe he was trying to get away from something.”  Fraser grabbed the baby, already turning blue, pulled it outside of the vehicle, placed it on the back trunk lid, and immediately began giving it gentle but firm “back blows” with his hand in hopes of freeing up the child’s airways. This was at an intersection, in the midst of traffic passing all around!  The child finally spit something up, to Officer Fraser’s relief. The child started breathing again.  Medical responders transported the child to the hospital where he fully recovered.  Said the Warren Police Commissioner: “Officer Fraser’s actions on this traffic stop are nothing short of heroic. This incident shows that police work and traffic stops are not always about writing tickets or making arrests.” It’s not an exaggeration to conclude that Officer Fraser saved a child’s life that day, in the midst of what he thought was likely to be just a routine traffic stop for speeding!

You’ll recall the recent devastating, fast spreading fires that destroyed both considerable property and regrettably a large number of lives, as well, on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.  A woman and her mother, seeing the danger, left their home, got in their car, and began driving to safety, or so they thought.  As you’ll recall, seeing some of the TV footage, they could only get so far before running up on a traffic jam.  As the incessant on-coming flames grew closer to where they had been forced to stop, Mr. Benny Reinicke came upon the understandingly frightened two women.  Without hesitating, he carried each of the two ladies on his back, one at a time, to the near-by seawall and carefully let them down on the other side. Those two women entered the sea water, and with other escaping residents, actually floated there together for over eight hours waiting for the fires to pass! Later on, thankfully, both women were able to reunite with and give thanks to the man who had literally carried them to safety, with entry soon into the protective sea waters. A great story of a stranger assisting two women whom he didn’t know, directly in the face of those fast-approaching killer fires, amidst that day of unprecedented devastation on Maui.

One heretofore normal day, Holle Prigmore, a Georgia USPS rural route carrier, noticed that a nearby home’s beagle dog, that she usually gave treats to, was being bitten by a copperhead snake.  Talk about just the right time for a chance observation. She picked up the young dog and tried to locate the dog’s owners, but with no luck.  She then took it upon herself, thankfully, to take the dog to a local pet hospital. The young beagle was promptly treated for the snake bite, and would survive, thanks totally to the concerned quick action of that compassionate mail carrier. Said Ms. Prigmore: “Anybody in my industry would have done the same thing.  That’s why we have so many friends on our routes as it is, so we’re used to it.  It’s just kinda part of the job.” Coincidently, Ms. Prigmore has three pets herself, which no doubt helped greatly with the compassion shown to that life-endangered young beagle. Regarding this selfless act, the USPS issued the following statement: “The Postal Service is part of the fabric of the nation with employees making a difference in every community across the county. We are very proud of Holle Prigmore and her quick action which saved the life of a customer’s beloved pet.”  As all pet owners well know, pets become very much like treasured family members. So, it’s no exaggeration to say that Ms. Prigmore saved a life of importance to that young beagle’s family.

And, finally for this edition, a comprehensive tribute to America’s first president, George Washington. Author Richard Brookhiser has described and praised President Washington in his book, “Founding Father” (1997). Wrote Brookhiser: “Born a Virginia aristocrat, he carefully cultivated his virtues – self-control, moderation, civility; his strengths – physical and moral – to become the most widely admired presence, first in the 13 colonies, then in the new nation. He created two American institutions:  the Army – shaping a collection of untrained ragtag soldiers into a fighting force that defeated the world’s superpower, Great Britain. He also would set the future course of the U.S. government itself. It was Washington who emphasized that America was a republic when he rebuked those who wanted a monarchy or an exalted president.”  Today, we could certainly, and collectively, use Washington’s virtues far more widely and meaningfully: self-control, moderation, and civility,” especially as we all painfully observe both the negative actions within our federal government, as well as within our nation as a whole, with serious crime putting a destructive choke-hold on our major cities and, now, even beyond, while also observing, with growing impatience, the upheaval in the Republican-led U.S. House.  Back to Richard Brookhiser, his book with the much fuller story of our nation’s first president, and the leader of the decisive combat that provided America, and we here today, with our freedom and vital independence, is recommended to you.

(Fact Sources:  Woman pulls man from burning vehicle via, David Propper, 9-7-23; Police officer saves two struggling swimmers via, Pilar Arias, 9-21-23; Man saves a young boy from a submerged vehicle via, Amy Furr, 10-1-23; Police officer saves the life of a baby via, David Propper, 9-1-23; Stranger helps two Maui women to safety via, Amy Furr, 8-20-23; Rural mail carrier saves the life of a young beagle via, Pilar Arias, 9-26-23;  Legendary George Washington via, Post Editorial Board, 2-`19-23).