When he became a sheriff’s deputy, Montey Chappell took an oath to serve and protect the people of Franklin County.
That’s why he said last week’s fire rescue doesn’t make him a hero — he was only doing his job.
“I’m uncomfortable with that,” Chappell said, at the mention of the word “hero.”
But others disagree.
An appreciation ceremony was held in the Franklin County Fiscal Courtroom Thursday to honor Chappell and two other men — David Chadwell, of Frankfort and Jess Thompson, of Lawrenceburg — for what local officials call their “selfless acts of heroism.”
“They put their own health and safety into question,” Kentucky Fire Marshal William Swope said. “… they came without hesitation.”
Chappell was on his way home from a patrol shift Feb. 5 when dispatch received a call about a house fire on Darbywood Drive. He happened to be in the area so Chappell responded, arriving first on the scene.
After kicking in the front door, Chappell found a woman, Linda Meiseles, lying unconscious on the floor.
That’s when Chadwell and Thompson — who had been doing construction work across the street — jumped in to help.
“Anybody else would have done the same thing,” Thompson said.
Chappell said flames were burning over their heads as they pulled Meiseles from the home — a process that took three or four minutes.
“It seemed a lot longer than it was,” Chappell said.
She survived and is listed in critical but stable condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“God put us in the right place,” Thompson said.
At the ceremony, Swope presented the three with certificates of valor. They also received a certificate of appreciation from Fiscal Court, presented by Franklin County Fire Chief Kevin Hutcherson.
“We appreciate the honorable thing you have done to sacrifice yourself for another individual,” Hutcherson said.
Sheriff Pat Melton presented Chappell with a medal of valor.
“All he had to do was turn right, he was going home,” Melton said, after the ceremony, “he turned left.”
“It’s appreciated,” Chappell said of the attention he was receiving, but “it’s not necessary.”
Chadwell said he felt the same way.
“It feels good, it feels great,” Chadwell said. “But I don’t think I’m a hero.”