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Jonesborough officers’ actions were more than just duty

Johnson City Press • Dec 13, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Could you crawl into house engulfed in flames to save another’s life?

Jonesborough Police Sgt. James Jenkins did. He and fellow officer Tammy Ray are credited with saving the life of Bud Gray when the amputee was trapped in his burning home on Sept. 27.

Heavy smoke stopped Ray from charging in as she was the first to arrive at the College Street home, but she helped Jenkins pull the man from the house before firefighters arrived.

Typical of emergency responders who perform heroic acts, Jenkins said the pair “were just doing our job” as they were honored at Wednesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. He said first-responders all over the country perform similar acts every day without such recognition.

Perhaps Jenkins is right. Police, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders know the territory when they put on their uniforms. They could be called into perilous duty at any given moment.

That doesn’t change the fact that Jenkins and Ray had the composure and courage to act on their training in the moment. Both Jenkins and Ray are just as human as the rest of us, and it takes mettle to do what they did for Bud Gray.

Modern society tosses around the label “heroes” so universally that it has begun to lose its meaning, but there can be no doubt that what Jonesborough’s police officers did was heroic.

The town thought so, too. With Gray on hand Wednesday, Mayor Chuck Vest presented both Jenkins and Ray with Jonesborough’s Lifesaver Award, which honors first responders who physically rescue a person from the likelihood of certain death or render first aid to somebody whose life is in immediate jeopardy.

The Johnson City Press joins the town in saluting and thanking the officers. Yes, they did their jobs, and they did them bravely.

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