What is a hero? Actor Robert Downey Jr. said that “hero” is a verb–not a noun. We agree. They aren’t passive. Heroes aren’t on the sidelines observing. Heroes act courageously on behalf of others. Everyday heroes walk among us. They are ordinary people with extraordinary courage. They see a problem and do what they can to fix it. They are our friends, our neighbors, and our colleagues. We want to share our colleague, and real hero, Gary’s story. It will give you chills.

Gary is a lineman for PAR Western Line Contractors. He has been with the company for several years and is a second-generation Lineman. This particular day, he went to work expecting it to be another routine day. Like most days, the crew was working on power lines. A fellow crew member who was working from a bucket truck saw smoke and asked Gary to investigate, he feared that the smoke was coming from a nearby residence.

Walking through the neighborhood, he searched for the source of smoke, finding a house engulfed in flames. Neighbors were watching, but most were frozen, not acting. Gary jumped into action, he knocked on the door and called out. Someone responded that there were people trapped inside. The voice he heard sounded like a child who was pleading for help. Gary encouraged them to come out. They told him that their mother was trapped in the home, and the child did not want to leave her.

After calling 911, Gary did something only a true hero would do, he walked into the burning house to retrieve the child and mother. It was scorching hot. Gary couldn’t see through the smoke while searching the home and he tripped as he went up the stairs. The voice continued to call out, trying to tell him how to find them.

After finding the young lady and her mother, the young lady pulled Gary’s hand to the floor to touch her mother who was stuck and couldn’t move. With the young lady’s help, Gary lifted the mother and carried her out of the burning house to safety. When he came out of the smoke-filled house, he laid the mother on some concrete outside where others took over and carried her further away from the fire. The ambulance arrived shortly after that. When it was over, Gary spoke with a firefighter who told him that the mother was nonverbal and that both could have died in the fire had he not been there.

Gary didn’t wake up that morning planning to save two strangers. But that’s exactly what he did: in an instant, he put his own safety aside and literally stepped into a burning house to help others. His unselfish act saved a mother and daughter who would not have survived if not for his bravery.

When it comes to saving lives, we here at Quanta West recognize and celebrate all the real heroes- everyday heroes, like Gary, and all first responders. We are proud to partner with the American Red Cross to share our gratitude for Gary and other heroes like him.

Thank you for making all the difference.