A Midwest City Hero

Sunday, May 11th 2008, 1:22 am
By: News 9

The English language is littered with expressions and adjectives that often slip into our daily speech to the point that they lose their effectiveness.  "The kindness of strangers, hero, and going above and beyond the call of duty" are just a few of the ones that spring to mind.

But in Midwest City, Oklahoma, there's a man who personifies all of them.

On the night of May 5, Steve Edwards awoke to screams from his next-door neighbor.  He opened his front door to see 59-year old Vance Riley engulfed in flames. Edwards accidentally set himself on fire. 

Edwards rushed over to Riley, threw him to the ground and extinguished the flames. His girlfriend Amy called 911, but not before grabbing a blanket for Riley.  Riley is now in critical condition at a local hospital with burns over 75 percent of his body.  Edward suffered 3rd-degree burns to his hand and may need surgery to repair the damage.

We always wonder how we would react in certain situations, especially when there is chance we could suffer injury or even death. And we would like to think that we would put ourselves at risk to help a fellow man.  But fear can be paralyzing and all too often, we do nothing.

I interviewed Edwards the following day. He was extremely modest in his actions, which he described as a no-brainer. "If I was on fire, I'd want somebody to put me out," he said.

We can only hope