Flat Rock man honored as Carnegie Hero for saving woman from burning car

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Washington, October 24, 2018 | comments

Flat Rock man honored as Carnegie Hero for saving woman from burning car

By Andrew Mundhenk 
Times-News Staff Writer 
Posted at 7:54 AMUpdated at 8:04 AM

A Flat Rock man was recognized with the Carnegie Medal Tuesday for his heroics saving a woman from her burning vehicle.

David Scot Love, 41, is among 19 civilians recognized for extraordinary acts of civilian heroism in the latest class of Carnegie Heroes awarded by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. Love was formally recognized Tuesday morning by U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows at his Hendersonville office.

On Dec. 30, 2016, Love rescued Mishelle Calzoncit from her burning car during a trip in San Antonio, Texas. The 22-year-old Calzoncit was semi-conscious and trapped inside following an accident at night.

The Carnegie Medal is given in the U.S. and Canada to citizens who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. More than 10,000 people have been recognized since the Pittsburgh-based fund’s inception in 1904.

“It’s honor, of course,” said Love. “There are a lot of people that put their life on the line every day. I know it sounds cliché, I just hope that everyone would do what I did and do everything they can to save another human’s life.”

Love and his family moved to Flat Rock in 2011 so he could work as missionary for the Glasses for Missions ministry in Arden. Love works full-time in developing nations holding eye clinics and providing training on how to make glasses.

To help raise money for the ministry, Love makes trips twice a year to San Antonio to sell fireworks, which is where he was on that December night when the incident occurred.

At 1 a.m., Love heard a loud pop from his RV parked nearby and ran to the scene. He found Calzoncit’s car engulfed in flames after she struck a pole at 60 mph.

Flames roared from the car engine and spread to the side of the car. Every time Love and another bystander tried to open the driver’s side door, they could only get it open about four inches. Each time it opened Love could hear the screams of the woman inside.

Love ran around the car and was able to open the passenger door. Smoke bellowed out. Love could hear Calzoncit’s screams but could not see or feel her. Once enough smoke cleared, Love could see that Calzoncit had been wedged between the underside of the steering columns and the driver’s seat, her legs crushed and trapped in or near the burning engine.

Love entered the car and, kneeling on the passenger seat, put his arms beneath hers, and attempted to pull her free. Despite several attempts to move her, the six-foot, 200 pound Love could not pull Calzoncit out. As they held hands, Calzoncit screamed repeatedly, “you can’t leave me.”

Still holding Calzoncit’s hand, Love briefly pulled his head out to catch some air. In that moment, Love said the words “In Jesus’ name” came out of his mouth. When Love re-entered the car he was able to free Calzoncit’s legs and pull her to safety.

“People may call it a religious experience, spiritual experience,” said Love. “It’s something that just came out of me.”

Love pulled Calzoncit about 50 feet away from the car and prayed for her until paramedics arrived.

Love was unable to see Calzoncit while she was recovering from her injuries. When they were able to reunite, Calzoncit gave Love a medallion with the words “In Jesus’ Name” inscribed on it.

“When you go through an emotional thing like that, you run it back over and over in your head thinking did it really happen that way,” said Love. “For me, that was such an amazing confirmation of what God did in that moment.”

Love said he has kept in contact with Calzoncit since the incident. Every six months he is back in San Antonio, Love and Calzoncit’s family get together for a meal.

To this day, Love still doesn’t know how he was nominated for the award. Around a year ago, he received a call from the Carnegie Foundation. He called people close to him, his family, Calzoncit’s family and none of them said they were the ones who nominated him.

Throughout the 114 years since the fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $40.1 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits and continuing assistance, according to a news release from the fund.


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