Monday, 18 May 2009

A Community Steps Up

Written by  Liana Stanley

wrong turn signUPI reports that on January 30, 2009, 25-year-old Adolfo Valle was on his way to the grocery store when he accidentally turned down the wrong street. Well, the wrong street to take him to the store, anyway.

Valle, who came to the United States from Mexico just last year — legally — was trying to make his way back to the proper route when he noticed smoke coming from the home of 82-year-old Ruby Brown in Newport, Kentucky. Without hesitation he rushed into the burning building, where Brown was huddled with her daughter, 55-year-old Pauline Bullock, and son, 58-year-old Harold Moore. WCPO.com reports that Brown and Bullock would have been able to escape the flames, but Moore would not have been as he has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound. After struggling unsuccessfully to carry Moore out, the two women had determined that they would stay with him no matter what; if they couldn’t all escape, they would all perish together. So the three remained in the burning building, calling for help and praying for divine intervention.

Those prayers were answered as Valle who, despite the smoke and intense heat, ran in, pulled Moore from his wheelchair, and dragged him to safety. He then returned to assist Brown out and, with her brother and mother safely rescued, Bullock followed. Once emergency personnel arrived, the young man continued on to the store.

 

Though he had no desire for accolades, Valle was honored on April 6 by the Newport City Commission. He had not revealed his identity himself, but his family identified him as the hero a few weeks following the incident, after reading an account of the rescue in a local paper asking about the identity of the “angel.” Cincinnati.com reported that during the ceremony, April 6 was proclaimed “Adolfo Valle Day,” and Valle was made an honorary firefighter and received a Newport firefighter’s helmet. He was also introduced for the first time to the family he saved. Though excited about being named an honorary firefighter, Valle remained humble. “I just thank God for letting me be there,” he told WCPO Channel 9 in Cincinnati.

 

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Wrong turn? It looks as though, in an answer to prayer, the family’s “angel” made the right turn that day.

 

Not only were the prayers of Ruby Brown and her children answered in Adolfo Valle’s heroic efforts, but the trio were further blessed after the fire.

 

WCPO also reported on how the community stepped up to help the family, who lost all that they owned when their home of 28 years was consumed by the flames. The effort to assist the three was spearheaded by a complete stranger, Debbie Reker, a resident of Fort Thomas, Kentucky. After reading of the incident in the paper, Debbie took the initiative to help get the family back on their feet.

 

In addition to helping Ruby Brown work with her insurance company, Reker secured an attorney to help pro bono if needed, set up a fund at a local bank to collect donations, and worked with a local Lowe’s to offer discounts to those who purchase gift cards for the family. The goal is, between the insurance proceeds and the donations, to purchase and furnish a mobile home for the three, who are currently staying with other relatives.

 

The lives of Brown, Bullock, and Moore were saved by one stranger, and are being rebuilt by another. As Reker put it, “Goodness is out there, and it is contagious.” It would seem so.