SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. --
First Sgt. Billy Davidson, a former member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment
, received the Sheriff’s Medal for Valor during the 2010 San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Exceptional Service Awards ceremony at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts Wednesday.
On Jan. 8, 2009, while on pre-deployment leave, Davidson came upon a two car collision on Highway 62 near Interstate 10. The scene he arrived upon was a twisted, burning mess.
Immediately assessing the situation, Davidson began to extract the passengers from the burning vehicles. He pulled one passenger, engulfed in flames, out of the burning Sport Utility Vehicle and removed his own shirt to use in extinguishing the flames. After the immediate fire was put out, the Marine cut the victims charred clothing from his body to prevent further injury.
Davidson helped other first responders separate the vehicles and attempted to extract the driver of the second car. Unfortunately, the team could not pull the burning driver from the vehicle in time to save his life.
During the presentation ceremony, Rod Hoops, the San Bernardino County Sheriff, said heroes like Davidson sometimes fly under the radar.
“All the folks who received awards here tonight exemplify public service,” said Hoops, a native of Highland, Calif. “You always hear about bad things happening in the news, and it’s important for us to recognize the heroes who sometimes go unnoticed. It’s heroes like these who make our job worthwhile.”
Davidson’s wife, Kendra, who also travelled from Fort Knox, Ky., where they’re currently stationed to attend the ceremony, said when she heard what her husband did she was not surprised.
“He usually downplays all the great things he does, and when he called me, he just said he helped out in a car crash,” said Kendra, a native of Birmingham, Mich. “When I got home, I saw he had burns on his hands. That’s just the kind of person he is—he always does the right thing.”
In true form, Davidson said he was only doing what he thought anyone else in his situation would do.
“I feel pretty good about what I did,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t want to sound corny or anything, I just did what I thought any other Marine who found himself in that situation would do.”
Davidson said he plans to visit with friends and family before heading back to his current duty station, where he is currently serving as the first sergeant for Marine Detachment Fort Knox, Ky.