It is said that an example of courage is running in when everyone else is running out. This is always true of first responders. But it also speaks to the mindset of those who serve. Oregon Army National Guard Spec. Alek Skarlatos and Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone saved countless lives on that Paris-bound train in August, 2015.
When Army veteran Chris Mintz heard gunfire at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, his thoughts were not of himself. Instead, he thought first of protecting others. The 30-year-old student was shot at least five times while charging straight at the gunman in an effort to save others.
Derek Bourgeois was hardly surprised when he heard about his cousin’s actions. What did surprise him was that a guy who survived a combat deployment without serious injury had come so close to being killed in a small Oregon town, not unlike the one in North Carolina where they grew up together.
Bourgeois and Mintz had both joined the Army after graduating from high school. Bourgeois had been stationed in Fort Bragg, and Mintz had been sent to Fort Lewis, Washington. They had both been deployed.
After leaving the Army, Mintz moved to Oregon. He enrolled at the community college with an eye toward becoming a fitness trainer.
The day of the shooting marked the 6th birthday of Mintz’s son, Tyrik.
Although Mintz has a long road to recovery, he has the support and well wishes of so many. As of this writing, more than $768,000 has been raised by 23,000 donors on the GoFundMe account set up by Bourgeois.
If you would like to contribute to the GoFundMe account, click here. There are also GoFundMe accounts set up for many of the survivors of the attack.
In keeping with “forget the zeroes, remember the heroes,” we have purposely left out any mention of the shooter’s name.