When this 80-year-old man heard a cry for help coming from a sinking car, he didn’t hesitate for a moment – he jumped right in! Believe it or not, its not the elderly man’s first time becoming a hero. Once long ago, he dove into a burning building to save more lives!
An 80-Year-Old Hero
Quite recently, 80-year-old Steve Montelongo from Modesto, California, was driving home. He had just picked up his granddaughter from the dentists. Of course, they wanted to return home so his granddaughter could recover. However, that would not happen. As Montelongo drove his family home, he saw something horrifying occur in front of him: a car veered off-road and straight into a nearby canal! Immediately, Montelongo and some of the other drivers pulled off to the side of the road. And when the 80-year-old heard screams coming from inside the car, he knew that there was only one thing to do – jump in.
Moments later, Montelongo found himself in disgusting canal water, trying to open the car door. Thankfully, he managed to pry the door open and save 62-year-old Jack Swarts, the vehicle’s driver. Not only that, but the grandfather even pulled Swarts to the side of the canal on his own. Talk about a strong 80-year-old hero! Thankfully, Swarts did not suffer any significant injuries.
Afterward, many wanted to call Steve Montelongo a hero. However, the man disagrees. “I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “I was just a fella that got put in the right place at the right time.” Still, history proves otherwise. This is far from the 80-year-old’s first time as a hero…
Twice In A Lifetime
Believe it or not, in 2003, Montelongo also risked his life to save others! That time around, he found his elderly neighbors stuck in their house after a terrible gas explosion. The hero that he is, Montelongo ran to the front door, kicked it down, and pulled Katherine Mattox, 80-year-old at the time, outside. “I heard the explosion, ran over to see what was going on,” he recalled. “I thought it was my house. It was the neighbor’s house. Ran over there and my son was trying to get in the door and he couldn’t, so I said move, let me try. And that’s when I pulled the door. And then I kicked the inside door because of the carpet, and I pulled the lady out.”
As you might have guessed, that was not the end of the rescue mission. Despite the risk, Montelongo returned for Mattox’s husband, 79-year-old Wayne Maxwell. After saving the couple, he suffered chest pains for months from the smoke, but never complained.
While Montelongo might not think of himself as a hero, many in the community, like Tom Olsen, disagree. Olsen, who works for California Highway Patrol, thinks that Montelongo’s more than a hero – he’s one of them! “First responder, he can probably add to his resume,” he said. “A lot of people are in the right place at the right time, but very few actually did what Mr. Montelongo did.”