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President Dottavio presents student with Good Samaritan Award for Extraordinary Humanitarian Service
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 29, 2014
STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Tarleton State University President F. Dominic Dottavio recognized the selfless actions of Blake Pryor on Thursday during the university’s annual General Assembly by presenting the 21-year-old student with the Good Samaritan Award for Extraordinary Humanitarian Service.
Pryor, a junior from Georgetown, Texas, majoring in criminal justice, was recently heralded by the Round Rock Police Department as a hero when he stopped along a busy highway to aid a woman who was threatening to end her life atop an interstate overpass. Because of Pryor’s decision to stop and aid the complete stranger, he prevented the distressed woman from taking her own life, according to officers with the Central Texas law enforcement agency.
“At Tarleton, we put our Core Values right up front,” Dottavio said during the presentation before more than 800 university faculty and staff. “Today, we celebrate a student whose actions were an extraordinary example of Tarleton’s Core Value of Service. His quick decision made an enormous difference for a person’s life, and that of her family.”
The July 17 incident began at the State Hwy. 45 and Interstate 35 interchange, when Round Rock police were dispatched in response to multiple callers reporting a woman standing on the overpass. Pryor was returning home from work when he noticed a car parked on the bridge, which police estimate is more than 100 feet above I-35.
“I don’t know the reason why I (stopped),” Pryor would later say. “I was coming up the bridge and assumed the car had a flat tire or broke down. No one wants to be stuck on a bridge, and, when I saw the woman for the first time, I noticed something was wrong because she was visibly distressed. I connected all the dots and then figured she was trying to jump off the bridge.”
Pryor said he placed his hand on the woman’s shoulders to let her know he was there. “I asked her if she was OK and she wouldn’t really talk to me,” he recalled. “I introduced myself and told her that I understand times can be tough and if that she needed someone to talk to, I could talk as long as she wanted to.”
By then, Round Rock police officer Chris Cox arrived and helped diffuse the situation.
“It’s not every day you find or come across someone like Blake,” said Cox. “If he wouldn’t have been there, I can guarantee she would have jumped.”
Cox said dozens, if not hundreds, of motorists drove by the woman on the overpass but it was Pryor who stopped to render aid. “It obviously wasn’t being done to get recognition, but it’s very refreshing to see a young person without any reason but to just stop and help out. As law enforcement officers we definitely don’t want to encourage people to put their lives at risk, but Blake is a man of character—an individual that we’d like to see more of,” he added.
During this week’s Good Samaritan Award for Extraordinary Humanitarian Service presentation, U.S. Congressman Roger Williams joined President Dottavio on stage to deliver a plaque and the President’s Core Values Coin to Pryor. Also on hand for the presentation were the student’s parents, Glenn and Deneice Pryor, his grandmother, an aunt and his girlfriend.
“You have brought honor to yourself, your family and your university,” Dottavio said. “Blake, we are very proud of you.”
Once he graduates from Tarleton with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Pryor said he plans to enroll in a police academy and pursue a career in law enforcement.
Tarleton State University, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to engage societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.
Contact: Kurt Mogonye