Hero honored for saving motorcyclist's life

December 17, 2009 (BLOOMINDALE, Ill.) Grocery store worker Anthony Perez received commendations for saving a motorcyclist who nearly died in a fire this summer. Perez's quick-thinking and selflessness saved Dave Schwartz.

On Thursday, both victim and hero met after a long time.

Dave Schwartz beheld Anthony Perez, a guardian angel who leaped to Schwartz's side as the motorcyclist's clothes caught fire on his Harley last August.

Schwartz's wife Linda says she and her husband were rolling into the Meijer store where Perez works after a day out riding. Suddenly, the bike's fuel line broke and both were soaked in gasoline and the next thing anyone knew, Schwartz was on fire.

"And the only one that came to help was Anthony. And he, he was like a calming presence. He knew what do. He jumped right in. He wasn't afraid, and he was there for us," said Linda Schwartz, Dave's wife.

"It felt like slow motion after I got off the bike, and I landed on the ground, and just rolling. I seen my elbow was not looking normal, and I look at the bike and that's when it exploded," said Dave Schwartz.

At that point Perez, who was taling a break from his duties ran 300 yards across the Meijer parking lot and peeled off his store uniform to try to smother the flames. Anthony arrived at the spot and moved quickly to get the flaming clothes off the victim. Medical personnel who attended the scene said that Perez saved the man's life.

"It's the kind of behavior that we would like to see exhibited in our community as one person caring about another. And it's one of the ways we make our community better," said Sherry Douglas, Bloomingdale Character Counts.

Like so many heroes, Anthony Perez is self-effacing.

"It was just human instinct to help another person. If you were on fire you best believe I would be there to help you, you know what I'm saying? I would hope anybody would have done it," said Anthony.

The 21-year old wants to get into business administration. His admirers think he's got a gift for bringing calm to crisis situations.

"We'll support him whatever he decides to do. He's a great person. I think he should become a paramedic or a fireman or something like that cuz he's got that kind of personality and I think he'd be perfect at it," said Linda.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.