Fort Worth hero considered for national recognition

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by GARY REAVES

WFAA

Posted on March 7, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 7 at 11:48 PM

FORT WORTH — He is already a hometown hero. Now Jeff Harrison of Fort Worth is up for a major national honor.

Last July, Harrison risked his life to save a woman and a little girl from drowning in the Trinity River.

But he doesn't think of himself as a hero. "No, I feel like I just got lucky," Harrison said. It's his stock response since the day his actions made headlines.

Harrison had been riding his bike in Trinity Park when he saw trouble in the water. He ran to the Trinity River and plucked out a young mother and the seven-year-old girl she was planning to adopt.

"The woman, she was blue," Harrison told reporters at the time. "I just did CPR like you see on TV. I'd never done CPR before in my life."

That day was tinged in tragedy, as the father of the family, Richard Walker, died trying the save the little girl.

But last summer, Harrison's deed was recognized with the Community Hero Award from MedStar.

Now, the 85 living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor — the nation's highest military honor — have named Harrison as a finalist for the award they give to civilian heroes.

"It's an incredible honor; I don't even know what to say about it... it's just incredible," Harrison said. "Very humbling."

To be singled out as a hero by heroes is huge — but even that may not match the award Harrison says is most dear to his heart.

"The eight-year-old son that they have gave me a plaque that says, 'Thanks for saving my mom, Alex.' It's almost hard to say without choking up," Harrison said.

He said to be honored by the nation's heroes would be incredible. But for now, the love of a little boy is all the honor he needs.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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