An Illinois resident is being hailed “citizen of the year” after pulling an unconscious man to safety just moments before an oncoming train obliterated his vehicle.
Lewis Medina, 60, sprung into action Oct. 9 when he saw a car in the middle of the tracks. He called 911, but when he realized there was a man inside who couldn’t get himself out in time, he took matters into his own hands.
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“Oh, my gosh! There’s a train coming,” Medina can be heard frantically proclaiming on the 911 call. “Let me try to get them out.”
So, he bolted toward the car, grabbed the 72-year-old victim — who was still unconscious — in a “bear hug” and started yanking him out of the car. At first, he struggled to free him.
“And then I hear the train horn blow, so now I’m really panicking,” Medina told WLS-TV. “So I decided to grab him by his shirt and his pants leg and pull him out of the vehicle.”
He pulled the man to safety just in time, as the event would have been potentially deadly.
“As soon as I got him at the bottom of hill, the train smashed the car,” Medina told WBBM-TV.
Here’s what’s so remarkable about this story: Medina clearly knew the dangers at hand, yet still sacrificed his own safety for a stranger. It’s a simple news mention, yet a profound lesson in what it really looks like to love others.
“I knew it was close, but I couldn’t leave him on the tracks. There was no way,” Medina told the Daily Herald. “I had to get him out.”
Now he’s being recognized for his incredible, life-saving act. Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain gave Medina the 2021 Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award this week — an honor for which the hero is clearly deserving.
The victim, who is reportedly doing well, didn’t attend the ceremony. As for Medina, he shed a tear as he and those assembled to honor him listened to the dramatic 911 call.
There are heroes among us. Clearly.
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