Carnegie taps a new hero in our community |

Carnegie taps a new hero in our community

Post Independent Opinion
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Little did we know that a hero moved into our community last summer.

It wasn’t until December, when the venerable Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded a Carnegie hero medal to David R. Jones, that his act of valor came to light here.

As described in the Jan. 2 edition of the Post Independent, Jones jumped into the fray of an armed bank robbery in California on March 5, 2010, moments after shots were fired. He helped tackle the robber and disarmed him of both guns, after the robber shot the first customer who jumped him.

The whole incident happened in less than three minutes, and Jones wasn’t thinking about earning recognition as a hero. He saw a situation that was out of control, and he took action.

For David Jones and his wife, Abbey, the violent robbery reinforced their decision to leave the Los Angeles area and move to Glenwood Springs.

So we are darned proud of Jones and pleased his family chose our community as their new home.

As it turns out, Jones is the third Garfield County resident to win a Carnegie hero’s medal.

In 1978, Floyd Collins, a 49-year-old water well drilling contractor from Carbondale, rescued a couple from the burning wreckage of their private plane that crashed near Aspen. All three survived.

In 1984, Glenwood Springs real estate broker Bob Veltus rescued an 8-year-old boy after the raft they were in flipped in Cemetery Rapid on the runoff-swollen Roaring Fork River. Two miles downstream, at what is now called Veltus Park, the two were pulled from the river by other rescuers. The boy survived, but Veltus did not.

Walter F. Rutkowski, executive director of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, said of the 9,495 hero medals issued since 1904, about 20 percent have gone to those who died in the act of heroism. Many others suffered debilitating injuries.

Using a fund established by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the commission awards $5,000 in cash to all recipients, and provides scholarships or monthly income assistance to injured heroes or survivors of those who died.

Jones, who wasn’t injured, expressed reluctance to accept the cash award. He felt others would need and deserve the cash more.

Rutkowski said that reaction is “a universal sentiment” among medal recipients. Heroes act “in the spirit of the moment,” he said. “Carnegie himself knew that heroism is impulsive.”

We would urge Jones to accept the cash award and, as his wife has suggested, donate the funds to a worthy community organization.

Jones should feel proud to accept the award. His case was thoroughly vetted by the Carnegie Commission, and Andrew Carnegie wanted each of his heroes to have the money, even if they, in turn, pass it along to another worthy cause.

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