Officer Daniel McCombs has dedicated his life to helping others, serving in the Army National Guard — inspired by his father.
“He did 27 years with the U.S. Marshals Service. Saw him growing up, transition through the military to retirement. A lot of great things he did. Plus, I like serving the community,” McCombs said.
McCombs was a military officer for 11 years, before joining the Defense Logistics Agency in Columbus in 2012.
It’s a position, McCombs said, that still allows him to serve in the interest of others, using all of the skills and training he’s acquired over the years. Training that would be put to the test after his shift on September 11 of this year.
McCombs was one his way home around 10pm that night, but construction on I-670 detoured his usual drive, putting him on 5th Avenue instead, and in the path of someone who needed him.
“I came across a crash.”
The car was in the middle of the road, totaled.
“My first instinct was, you know, to make sure everybody’s alright. So I pulled over,” McCombs said. “At that point in time, after talking to some witnesses that were already there, we realized that the car was on fire and there was still somebody inside.”
McCombs immediately went into response mode to save the driver.
“Myself and two other gentlemen went over to the vehicle, tried the doors, but with the front-end collision, there was a lot of frame damage, so we had to force our way into the car,” said McCombs. “Hesitation normally costs lives, so you have to make a decision and stick with it.”
And that decision saved a life. McCombs and those two other men pulled the driver to safety, and stayed with him until medics arrived.
“I feel like any other veteran, or any other police officer, responder would have done the same thing,” McCombs said. “I’m not doing this for the recognition. I was just the right person at the right time.”
McCombs said he never got the chance to find out who that driver was, but hopes to meet him in the future.
He was presented with a Commander’s Coin from Navy Rear Admiral John Palmer, as a token of appreciation for his actions.