Today’s Huck’s Hero salute goes out to Utah-based trucker Darren Phillips, who was driving near Green River in Wyoming when he saw a state trooper wrestling with a driver he’d stopped for speeding. The driver had the cop on his back and was trying to take his gun, and there was nobody around for backup. So Phillips stopped his truck, ran over and put the suspect into a choke hold. The trooper cuffed him, and then Phillips learned that the driver was fighting because he’d been carrying 70 pounds of marijuana and some cocaine in his car. As the trooper led him away, the suspect told Phillips, “Nice choke hold.”
Surprisingly, Phillips said he’d never put anyone in a choke hold before, but he did have a pretty good idea of how to do it, since he spent 12 years in the Marines and 14 in the Utah National Guard, pulled two tours of duty in the Iraq War and served as a Black Hawk helicopter chief. The drug suspect probably thought there were no other cops around, but he never imagined that fate would arrange to send in the Marines. Click the link for more.
Let’s also throw a special salute to a Huck’s Hero, Senior Division: Bill Coulter, who lives, appropriately enough, in Independence, Iowa, population about 6,000. Coulter is a Korean War veteran, and his brother and son are also veterans. He was naturally upset to learn that the city council had voted to stop paying to maintain the town’s largest American flag for the veterans memorial, which gets tattered by high winds and has to be replaced every six to 12 weeks at a cost of $310 per flag.
So Mr. Coulter took matters into his own hands. He rounded up some donors, went to a council meeting and said they would pay to replace the flags out of their own pockets. The council had also voted to stop turning on the lights on the town’s “Welcome to Independence” sign. Coulter asked how much that bill was. When he found out it was a whopping $10 a month, he told them he’d pay that, too.
After listening to Coulter step up and volunteer to take on the town's responsibilities himself, the council voted unanimously to reverse their decision: the town will pay to keep the flag flying and the sign lighted. The city manager said the council thought it was a prudent decision, but residents voiced their opinion, and the reversal was “an appropriate example of democracy at work.” Or more precisely, the power of being shamed by the example of an elderly veteran who showed them what stepping up to do your duty looks like.