A former soldier at Joint Base Lewis McCord pulled a stranger from a burning car a year ago.
Chief Warrant Officer Jesse Rhymes received the Soldier’s Medal Thursday, one of the highest honors for his act of bravery.
"You know, the soldier's medal is a huge deal. We don't give too many of those out," said Maj. General Thomas James.
While driving home in Thurston County last January, he saw a car veer off this road and flip over
"I called 911, and as soon as I got off the phone, the car went up in flames and started burning right away."
Rhymes said he and a bystander didn't think twice.
"We just went up the passenger's window, I crawled up through the center of the console, tried to find my way through an upside down car and unbuckled his legs that were trapped under the steering wheel as much as I could find him because it was so thick with smoke. Pulled him out we got his torso out, and we pulled him the rest of the way out after that."
The man survived, and Jesse went home to have dinner with his wife.
"My blood from my arms had come down my pants, and all on the front of me just looked like I'd been in a big fight of some sort," he said.
"I said what happened and he's like, ‘I got held up on the way home no big deal.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I had to crawl into a burning vehicle and pull this guy out. Yeah, not a big deal.’ He's just so modest; it's just a like an everyday thing to him," said Sally Rhymes, his wife.
"We got to be ready to impulsively take care of each other, and that's what Chief Rhymes did," said General Thomas James.
The Soldier's Medal was established by Congress in 1926 and is given to select members of the armed forces who display acts of heroism.
"I am very proud, very proud. He's a wonderful person a wonderful husband, a great father, and he deserves this," said Sally.
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