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Seadrift men honored for rescuing a woman from flames

May 31, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.

Patrolman Chris Driver, background, and Calhoun County EMS shift supervisor Michael Beard display their Medals of Valor after  an award ceremony Tuesday at Seadrift City Hall. The men pulled a disabled woman, Glenda Mathis, out of her burning house on April 20, risking their own lives to save hers.

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A benefit account has been set up in the name of Glenda and K. Mathis at the First National Bank.

SEADRIFT - The Seadrift City Council on Tuesday evening honored two men for their daring rescue of a Seadrift woman from a burning house.

When the call went out that a woman, Glenda Mathis, was trapped inside a burning house on April 20, EMS shift supervisor Michael Beard and patrolman Chris Driver were the first to respond.

Mathis has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair.

The fire started in the kitchen and Mathis, unable to move, watched as the flames grew higher and thick black smoke began to fill the place.

"I couldn't see it, but I heard it. I thought I was going to burn alive," she recalled.

The house at 204 Cleveland Ave. was in flames when Driver and Beard arrived, but neither man thought twice about running toward the fire.

They found Mathis on the floor just inside the house.

Together, the men picked her up and carried her out to safety.

"The place just burst into flames behind us," Driver said.

Mathis' husband, K. Mathis, assisted in her rescue.

She watched her home burn from the safety of an ambulance. The home has been in her family since 1926.

"I watched black smoke from the house pouring into the sky, but it didn't bother me too much. It was only my house, not my life," Mathis said.

The 100-year-old house was uninsured because of its age, and Mathis lost everything in the fire.

Beard and Driver almost looked embarrassed as they stood in front of the Seadrift City Council on Tuesday evening.

"I don't really feel like I did anything special," Beard said, looking down at the royal blue velvet box, and Driver agreed.

They were just doing their jobs, the two men said.

Mayor Elmer DeForest presented each man with a medal, recognizing their service.

"Courage, bravery and valor can be shown in many ways, but these men risked their lives to save a woman here in Seadrift," DeForest said.

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