Marcus Mathis saved Maybelle E. Shell and three others from an impending explosion, Ray City, Georgia, September 17, 1963. Mrs. Shell, 32, Juanita Alexander, and Jack M. Kirkpatrick were in a two-door sedan driven by Mrs. Shell’s husband when it collided with a pickup truck driven by John F. Moore. All occupants were severely injured, but the driver of the sedan crawled from the automobile. Flames in gusts as much as four feet high were burning on the front ends of both vehicles when Mathis and Donald B. Gaskins ran to the sedan. Mathis opened the door and knelt on the front seat. He sustained cuts to his hands as he brushed away broken glass that had fallen on Mrs. Shell who was wedged under the dashboard. After Mathis, 38, painter-farmer, with difficulty freed Mrs. Shell, who outweighed him by a hundred pounds, Gaskins aided in carrying her away from the sedan. Mathis then climbed into the rear seat section and lifted Miss Alexander from the floor. Stepping backward from the sedan, he drew her to the doorway. Gaskins then also took hold of her and aided in removing, her from the automobile. Flames were spreading rapidly over the front end of the sedan as Mathis again stepped into the rear compartment. He pulled Kirkpatrick to the doorway, and Gaskins helped to carry him away. Mathis and Gaskins then ran to the truck and together forced the door open. Mathis leaned into the cab, where Moore was seated on the floor with his head on the seat above the fuel tank. With his hands within inches of flames issuing under the dashboard and upward along the windshield, Mathis lifted Moore from the floor. Gaskins also reached into the cab and took hold of Moore. Between them they removed him from the truck. Firemen arrived and put out the flames. Moore succumbed to his injuries, but the others recovered.
46798 – 478146798-4781