The 80-year-old man was in the right place at the right time, when he pulled a man out of his sinking car after he had accidentally driven into a canal. Montelongo jumped to the man’s help without any hesitation or regard to his own well-being.
The accident unfolded while the elderly man was taking his granddaughter home after a dentist’s appointment. They had stopped at a traffic light when the girl saw the car fall into the canal.
Montelongo Yanked the Driver Out of the Car
Montelongo got out of his car to check out the scene and instantly noticed that water had begun rushing into the vehicle of the trapped driver. He walked into the canal and managed to open the automobile’s back door, which fortunately was unlocked. As the water began to fill in faster, the 80-year-old managed to yank the distressed 62-year-old Jack Swarts from the car by his shirt.
He later said in an interview – “I don’t consider myself a hero. I was just a fella that got put in the right place at the right time” – humbling words from a genuine modern-day good samaritan.
He Also Saved Two Other People in 2003
This, however, wasn’t Montelongo’s sole act of heroism. Nearly 20 years ago, he helped two of his neighbors get to safety as their house was caught in a blaze.
He was 62 years old at the time and had to kick open their neighbor’s front door to pull out 80-year-old Kathirne Mattox and 79-year-old Wayne Maxwell. During the rescue, Montelongo suffered chest pains and had to be hospitalized but made a swift recovery.
He was awarded the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission medal for this bravery and act of heroism.