BARSTOW — Monday night’s city council meeting was a time for honoring local residents who went above and beyond in serving the community.

With almost every seat in the council chambers full, the council honored several residents for their contributions to the community, including three Stater Bros. employees who helped save a man from a fiery crash on April 5.

Nelson Mendoza, Linda Hedberg, and Gary Flores each received a Civilian Medal of Honor for their actions in rescuing a man trapped in a tractor-trailer that drove off Interstate 15, landing on its side in a ditch behind the Stater Bros. market at 957 Armory Road. The tractor-trailer erupted in flames after the crash.

When Mendoza, Hedberg and Flores went out to investigate, they found that one man had been pulled from the wreckage but another was trapped inside. Together, they were able to pull the man from the truck and removed him from harm’s way, according to staff reports.

“With no training, no time to think, and no preparation, Nelson, Linda and Gary answered the call to a man they did not know in his most trying moment of need,” Williams said. “On behalf of the Barstow Fire Protection District, we thank you and say job well done.” 

The group received a proclamation from the city honoring their actions, as well as an award from the Stater Bros. corporate office from the store’s representatives, who were on hand for the presentation. 

The sense of community pride was evident Monday night as other residents received recognition for their actions. Former mayor Lawrence Dale received an Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the U.S. Army for his work in supporting local soldiers and their families. Fort Irwin Col. G. Scott Taylor praised Dale for his work in bringing the BNSF Holiday Express train to the garrison.

Dale said he was “humbled and honored” by the award, saying he strived to do what he could to support the local military community. 

“There’s no way that I or anyone else who worked on that train can do enough to support the military and what they’ve done for our country,” Dale said. “It’s been a pleasure to work and do all the things we’ve done for Fort Irwin and the Marine Corps Logistics Base.”

The city council also presented a proclamation to the Barstow branch of the Salvation Army, proclaiming June 5 as “Salvation Army Barstow Day” for their work in serving the community in a variety of ways, from giving out emergency food baskets, helping with bills, and providing counseling services. 

Salvation Army Major David Ebel, along with his wife and their two service dogs, said they were “grateful” for the recognition.

“Salvation Army, wherever it is, is only as good as the community who works with them and supports them,” Ebel said. “From the beginning, it’s been wonderful. We look forward to the days ahead.”

Paola Baker may be reached at 760-955-5332 or PBaker@VVDailyPress.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DP_PaolaBaker.