We shouldn’t throw the word around lightly, but the actions of Colby Young, Sam Blackburn and a group of Tulsa firefighters last week were nothing short of heroic.

Young and Blackburn jumped into a creek Thursday morning to help an unconscious dump truck driver who had just crashed off the 5800 block of East 91st Street.

They found the driver unresponsive and his head underwater inside the partially submerged truck. They estimate he had been submerged for three or four minutes before they reached him.

They managed to pull the man’s head out of the water, but his torso was trapped.

The water surrounding them was covered in oil and diesel fuel. There’s no telling what could have happened, but they stayed by the man’s side until the firefighters arrived.

The man wasn’t breathing, and appeared dead, but he finally took a shallow breath and slowly started to recover. After firefighters arrived, he started to regain consciousness and was able to wiggle free from the steering column and the gear shifter that were holding him down.

The firefighters train for emergencies and, to a certain extent, expect them. They are heroes in waiting, and they always have our admiration.

But the two civilians — strangers to one another and the truck driver — couldn’t possibly have known what lay down the road on their way to work that morning. They saw an emergency and quickly went to help.

There are plenty of stories in the daily newspaper about people behaving badly: There’s no shortage of selfishness and cowardice in this world.

But in their selfless, brave efforts last week, Young and Blackburn remind us of the altruistic abilities of the species and give us hope for mankind.

~ The Tulsa World

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