Looking Back, Jan. 23, 1997
Looking Back, Jan. 23, 1997: Courageous youth calm and collected
Grant County Fire District 3 has recognized an 8-year-old boy for his courage during a family crisis last month.
Roberto Cruz was injured on Dec. 7 when the propane stove in the trailer he lived in with his family exploded. His son, Roberto Cruz Mendoza, is the recipient of the Courage Award, given by Fire District Three.
Joe Schorno, fire chief, said the department decided to give the award to Mendoza because he showed tremendous courage after the explosion, which destroyed his family’s trailer.
“Roberto initiated the call to 9-1-1,” Schorno said. “Then he went back inside and stayed with his father and brothers.”
When the fire department arrived on scene, Mendoza had all the information they needed and also acted as an interpreter.
“He was excellent in the way he cooperated and the state of mind he was able to keep himself in,” Schorno said.
Mendoza was so concerned for his brothers and his father, when officers handed him a coat to wear, he handed it to his younger brother to put on. Mendoza also refused to leave his father’s side and insisted on staying in the ambulance with his dad.
Mendoza was given the award on Dec. 20 in recognition of his courage to take charge of the situation when his father was seriously injured.
“The entire time he stayed at his father’s side,” Schorno said. “He was more concerned about his family than himself.”
Cruz received burns to his hands, wrist and face. Schorno said faulty equipment is blamed for the explosion.