Honoring heroism

The Bible tells the story of the Good Samaritan: A man lay injured along the highway. Two people pass by without offering help before a Samaritan stops to assist.

John G. Plunkett of Perryville acted just like the Good Samaritan when he rescued two people after a January accident in Perry County.

For his extraordinarily brave and courageous behavior, Plunkett will receive the Honorary Trooper Award May 21 at the quarterly meeting of the Perry County E-911 Emergency Agency.

Plunkett acted like a hero when he stopped to help the Gibbar family after an accident that had their vehicle pinned against a tree.

Plunkett, an over-the-road truck driver for Gilster-Mary Lee, and his wife were driving on Route T in Perry County when they saw that a car had slid off the icy road and hit a tree. He called 911 on his cell phone and then looked to see if he could offer help in the meantime.

The driver and front-seat passenger were both unconscious. A 22-year-old woman and 3-year-old child were in the back of the vehicle. Plunkett took the child to his wife as the woman freed herself from the car.

A fire started near the gas tank, but even that didn't deter Plunkett, who tried to remove the front seat passengers and was himself burned. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Plunkett continued his valiant lifesaving efforts even when he knew that he could be injured or killed. He "heroically and unselfishly placed himself in extreme danger in his persistent efforts to rescue the Gibbar family," the patrol said.

His wife, Marjorie, says that's just the way her husband is. Southeast Missouri is lucky to have such a hero in our midst.