Corner Column

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Sometimes there’s just no substitute for institutional memory – the kind of recall possessed only by someone who’s been in one place a long time.

Had we had that here at the Monitor last week, we may have avoided an important omission to our story about a 1992 cement truck/van crash that claimed the lives of five members of the Dallas Chinese Bible Church.

The story focused on one of 10 survivors, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Go Tan, senior pastor of Grace Christian Church of the Philippines. He recently traveled to Quitman after 27 years to thank a team of medical professionals who treated him after the crash.

Unbeknownst to us was an act of extraordinary heroism that day – an act that undoubtedly prevented even more deaths.

One of the first on the scene that day was DPS Trooper Mike Crump. According to a former lawman familiar with the tragedy, Crump removed 13 people from the burning van, and he suffered significant burns while doing so.

For his selfless act of bravery, Crump received the Medal of Valor, the highest award presented by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

According to the DPS: “The medal may be issued to any member of the department who intelligently distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her own life. The deed performed must have been by voluntary act and of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to distinguish clearly the individual for gallantry and intrepidity above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life, known to the member before performing the act. It must be the type of deed which, if left undone, would not subject him to any justifiable criticism. The act must be far above and beyond the normal call of duty.”

Crump is among only 29 DPS personnel to receive the award.

The Rev. Tan demonstrated that it’s never too late to say thank you for a good deed. Therefore, 27 years later, I want to recognize Trooper Crump for an uncommon act of valor.

Well done, Sir.

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