News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, November 3, 2010
WAYNESBORO, Ga.---If you want to know what a modern day good Samaritan looks like, look no further. Today we're honoring a young man who took the time to stop and help save a life.
Richard Pylant runs his own landscaping company. On just about any day, you'll find him outside spreading seeds or planting flowers. He spends a lot of time in his truck driving from job to job, and that's what he was doing a few weeks ago when something caught his eye.
"First I saw like a big ball of fire," Richard remembers.
Two 18 wheelers had collided on the interstate, and Richard did something most people don't do anymore. He stopped to help.
"Being on the fire department in Bulloch County, I've been a firefighter since I was 17," Richard explains. "It was just natural instinct to get out and see what happened, I guess. Some people just call it nosy. I call it just trying to help, you know?"
Call it what you like, but the pictures tell the story. The injured driver was trapped. His cab was filled with smoke. And Richard, the volunteer firefighter, knew he had to move fast.
"He was actually entrapped. And the smoke was so heavy, I couldn't breathe," Richard says.
All the while, interstate traffic was still flying by in the next lane.
"When I actually pulled him out, we fell out on the interstate, and at that time cars were still going around us--just going around us."
Not a minute after the rescue, the big rig exploded. There wasn't much left.
Kimberly Washington interrupts Richard's landscaping work with a request. "I do want to hug him again," she says.
It was Kimberly's dad who was trapped in the truck that day. She knows her father would have never made it out alive if Richard hadn't stopped to help.
Her hug is a long and heartfelt one on the grass alongside a bank in Waynesboro.
"Oh thank you, thank you so much," Kimberly tells Richard.
Richard realizes now how close he came to dying that day himself.
"God was just with us that day, and He wasn't ready to see us," Richard says. "I'm just glad I could be part of God's plan for that man in his life."
Kimberly is grateful that Richard took the time to care, the time to stop and save her father's life.
"That just lets you know there are angels. There are true angels. He is an angel. Our angel," she says through her tears.
Kimberly also knows that a simple "thank you" doesn't come close to expressing how her family feels about this humble hero posing as a landscaper.
"Mister Richard, he picked him up and pulled him out with his strength," she says. "My Dad had no strength. My Dad was passed out."
And of course, we want to thank our Time to Care partners who make this award possible: Subway, Troy University and Ashley Furniture. If you want to nominate someone for our Time To Care Award, click here.