In a heart-warming reminder that Brian Williams’ heroism doesn’t just extend to taking enemy fire while riding in a helicopter in Iraq – oops – but saving puppies, Williams wrote in 2011 while he was still peddling his war-time heroism that he once joined firefighters and saved a puppy from a burning house. Williams boasted of his heroic exploits for USA Today, where he reminisced that his father, a fire buff, would pull him out of bed to see every fire that broke out in his hometown, even on cold, wintry nights.
Williams recalled, “At a young age, I saw the great gallantry and bravery the job of firefighting requires. In my own way, I placed firefighters above all others in society. I still do. I guess it’s hero worship, in its purest form.”
Then he segued to his own heroism, beginning, “So it’s not surprising that on the day I became eligible, I signed up to be a volunteer firefighter in my hometown of Middletown, N.J. Fighting fires isn’t for everybody, but for me, it was the most pleasing act of volunteerism. It was tactile, tangible, and it paid huge dividends. It ties directly to your community and your neighbors.”
Having made it clear what an all-around great guy he was, Williams got to the meat of the matter:
My firehouse was a modest engine company — three engines, three garage doors and about 30 of the best men I’ve ever known. We fought all the usual fires that break out in the suburbs: brush fires, car fires, dumpsters, dryers, light fixtures — and worst of all, the occasional house, already in flames when we arrived. I remember one such house fire — the structure was fully involved with flames and smoke. I was wearing a breathing apparatus, conducting a search on my hands and knees, when I felt something warm, squishy and furry on the floor of a closet. I instinctively tucked it in my coat. When I got outside, I saw two small eyes staring up at me, and I returned the 3-week-old (and very scared) puppy to its grateful owners.
Strangely, Williams never followed-up with the full story of his hands badly charred, face burned, or the fire engine he rode in escaping a narrow brush with an oncoming car.
Yup, he’s just a regular guy who makes $10 million a year, but Williams knows that once, he could go toe-to-toe with Death and emerge the victor. As he wrote, “I keep my fire helmet in my office at 30 Rock here in New York as a constant reminder of who I used to be and what I used to do.”