A simple act of heroism

Published 10:44 pm Friday, March 7, 2014

Marjorie King is a sweet lady from Portsmouth whose husband, Jim, has been battling some desperate health issues for the past several years. After a long day of training for in-home dialysis last week, they decided to head to one of his favorite restaurants, George’s Steakhouse in Suffolk, for a bit of comfort food and a change of scenery. It had been a long week dealing with Jim’s medical problems, and they needed a break.

They couldn’t have known the frightening turn that night would take when they pulled off Route 58 at Godwin Boulevard for gas, nor would they likely have imagined the caring support they would receive from complete strangers in and after the frightening moments when a simple automotive problem nearly became deadly.

Having run out of gas at the stoplight near the 7-Eleven where they were headed to fill up, Jim King got out of the car to push it out of the way and immediately found other nearby drivers rushing to help.

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Seeing they had the situation under control, the men urged Mr. King to hop back into the car and steer it, but when he attempted to do so, his overcoat caught on the door, and he fell to the ground, dragged along by the moving car until one of the men saw what had happened and shouted for everyone to stop pushing. But the momentum of the vehicle caused it to keep moving, and it only stopped when it had rolled onto his legs.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue units quickly responded to the scene, where Mr. King was suffering serious injuries. Another city of Suffolk employee, Gerald Wiggins Jr., who had seen the whole thing unfold as he had rushed over to push the car, helped roll it off Mr. King and then saw that Marjorie King needed assistance, too.

Too frightened of what she might see if she got out of the car and went to her husband while he was being attended to, Mrs. King sat in the passenger seat trying to fight off her panic. Wiggins asked if she needed help, and she asked him to hold her hand and stay with her.

Wiggins comforted Mrs. King at the scene and then helped push the car to the gas station once her husband had been taken to the hospital. He stayed there to help get the car restarted, and then he came back later to the hospital to check on the family.

Wiggins might not consider his actions heroic, but Marjorie King does. It’s a great lesson that heroism can take the simplest form and that it’s not out of the reach of any of us.