Florida Deputy Kelly Endricks saved a man’s life earlier this week. And not by doing anything so mundane as showing up at the right place at the right time to stop some bad guy. He showed up at the right place and the right time, to be sure, but his actions from that point on were far from ordinary. They were, in a word, heroic.
Endricks set a standard of behavior that his fellow officers across the continent would do well to emulate.
It was about 2am. Endricks was searching for a couple of thieves when his dispatcher radioed him about an emergency nearby.
A man was trapped inside his burning vehicle and was going to die if someone didn’t help him, and help him quickly.
Endricks arrived in two minutes flat, presumably with lights and sirens blazing, to a nasty scene.
He could see the fire spreading quickly and that Whalen was in peril. Without hesitation he grabbed his steel baton and smashed out the rear window, but Whalen was still too far away to reach. Flames leaping closer and closer, Endricks attacked after the sunroof next. Slam. Nothing. Slam. Still nothing. Harder! Finally, the glass gave way. A blast of hot smoke and flames greeted him.
After smashing the sunroof’s glass, he grabbed the injured man and hauled him out of the wrecked vehicle. By the time he god the injured man out of the vehicle and across the street to safety, the inside of the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.
After making sure Whalen was treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries, he collected his damaged baton and went home, where he took some Nyquil to fight off a cold he’d been feeling.
One of the things Endricks said afterward, when he was being hailed as a hero, was shockingly simple:
"We do heroic things like this every day," he said. "They just go unnoticed."
Perhaps it’s time we started noticing…