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When Construction Employees Turn Out to Be Superheroes

Clark Kent never worked for a construction company, but workers in hard hats sometimes emulate the superhero.

Mon August 17, 2015 - National Edition
Giles Lambertson


Wanted: Construction workers who can do assigned tasks with a minimum of supervision and, when called upon, will perform life-saving acts of bravery. Cape and tights not required.

Clark Kent never worked for a construction company, but workers in hard hats sometimes emulate the superhero. Two of them showed up in one week in July in different parts of the U.S.

When a Minnesota boy saw an elderly man being attacked by a pit bull, he approached a construction worker for help. The McCrossan Construction Co. worker, Derrick Johnson, ran to the scene and wrestled the dog off the man and pinned him to the ground till police arrived. A police officer called Johnson’s action “nothing short of heroic.”

Back east in Virginia, a young woman jumped out of a car in a construction zone along Interstate 95 and screamed for help. Construction worker Kevin Huntington called 911 at her request—and then really took charge when the woman said a man wanted to kill her. “I told her just stay behind me and I wouldn’t let anything happen to her.” Police later arrested the woman’s alleged assailant on kidnapping and sexual assault charges.

What these two men did is pretty impressive. They physically intervened in dire situations and, in the case of Huntington, offered tremendous reassurance at a moment when a young woman desperately needed it. Neither equivocated. No arm’s-length assistance for them. They responded as all of us like to think we would under similar circumstances.

It probably is not true that all construction workers are men and women of exceptional courage and sterling character. They are, in fact, ordinary people. But they are involved in an elemental work that tends to ground individuals in the basics—such as unhesitatingly responding to cries for help. Johnson and Huntington presumably are good employees, but clearly they are good citizens. A tip of the hard hat to them.

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