By Debbie Gregory.
Army National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Cory Hinkle, an Iraq combat veteran, is a hero. Hinkle was on his way home along a stretch of a Charlotte, North Carolina freeway when he was witness to a head-on collision.
Brandy Guin had been driving to her grandparents’ home to pick up her children when a car heading in the opposite direction suddenly came over the divider and hit her vehicle.
As often is the case with military veterans, Hinkle’s training kicked in: he pulled his car off to the side of the road and made his way to the wreck to offer help.
“I knew there had to be injuries, so I parked and ran instantly to the closest car to me,” he said.
The 28-year-old Guin was trapped inside her vehicle with a broken ankle. Without concern for his own safety, Hinkle pulled Guin from the car just as it caught fire.
“I got there in time to grab her and pick her back up. I could smell gasoline … I knew we had to move.”
In hero mode, Hinkle shielded Guin with his body and told her that the fire was ‘”going to have to go through me to get to you.” He was slightly injured due to the metal debris that was airborne.
Hinkle talked down the commendation he’s received since the incident.
“Anybody that wears the uniform that I wear — any one of them — I’m confident would’ve done the exact same thing in the same situation. The civilians I know would, too,” he said.
And of course, in true hero fashion, he said, “I don’t consider myself a hero. I was in the right place at the right time and I had the training to help keep her calm and the strength to keep her from getting hurt further.”