The held a ceremony Thursday morning in honor of Dale Simmons for his actions in helping an injured woman in a car accident.
Simmons, from Hampton, Georgia, was on his UPS route delivering packages when he saw an accident occur on Highway 29 in Lawrenceville. A UPS service provider for over 20 years, Simmons wore his uniform as he received recognition for his actions on August 25.
“I was coming up Highway 29 when I saw a dump truck hit a car and there was debris and smoke everywhere,” said Simmons. “I made sure the people in the truck were okay and then I checked on the lady in the car.”
“She was a little disoriented from hitting the airbag,” said Simmons. He continued to make sure the woman could still move and had not received any major injuries.
“I then saw the flames coming from the engine of the car, and I grabbed her arm and pulled her out and then laid her on the ground until the paramedics arrived,” continued Simmons.
He tried to go back to the car to retrieve her cell phone to call a relative but the flames had now reached the cab. The paramedics arrived within a minute of the call, but the flames had engulfed the car.
“He did a lot more than he realizes,” said Lieutenant Sharp, who responded to the call.
“She wouldn’t have been able to remove herself from the car,” said Firefighter McArthur who was at the scene. “It would have been a lot worse if he hadn’t responded.”
“These kids have a hero for a dad,” said Lieutenant Sharp.
Simmons' wife, Lenora, and his three kids were by his side as he was recognized. “He’s my hero,” agreed his daughter, Brittany.
“I’m extremely proud of him, but it doesn’t surprise me,” said Lenora Simmons.
It took a while for Simmons' wife to learn about the events. He had mentioned it to her in passing, but she later found a picture of him on the UPS website. When she read the story she realized the extent of his actions.
“He didn’t make a big deal out of it,” said Lenora. “He didn’t tell anybody, I told everybody.”
The woman, whose identity and injuries were not released, thanked Simmons for his help that day. But Simmons just felt like he was doing the right thing.
“Cars were weaving around the accident,” said Simmons. “It was just instinct; I thought, ‘What if it was my family?’”
“It feels nice to be recognized. I wasn’t expecting all of this,” said Simmons.
It took some time to get Simmons the recognition he deserved. Captain Tommy Rutledge said, “We had difficulty finding him to recognize what he did.”
They tried to track down who the UPS driver was who had helped. Simmons, who personally delivers packages to the Fire Supply office in Lawrenceville, mentioned the incident to the employees there. It was then that they discovered the identity of the UPS driver and good samaritan.
The Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services made sure to recognize a true hero Thursday morning.