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H*5152
Session 113 (1999-2000) 

H*5152 Concurrent Resolution, By Perry
 A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO EXPRESS THE DEEP GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION OF THE
 MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA TO WILLIAM T.
 (TOMMY) GIBBS III OF AIKEN COUNTY ON THE OCCASION OF BEING RECOGNIZED AND
 PRESENTED THE "YOUNG AMERICAN MEDAL FOR BRAVERY" AWARD BY THE UNITED STATES
 JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ON APRIL 27, 2000, FOR HIS HEROIC
 RESCUE FIFTY-TWO YEARS AGO.

   05/30/00  House  Introduced, adopted, sent to Senate HJ-106
   05/31/00  Senate Introduced, adopted, returned with concurrence SJ-17



A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

TO EXPRESS THE DEEP GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA TO WILLIAM T. (TOMMY) GIBBS III OF AIKEN COUNTY ON THE OCCASION OF BEING RECOGNIZED AND PRESENTED THE "YOUNG AMERICAN MEDAL FOR BRAVERY" AWARD BY THE UNITED STATES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ON APRIL 27, 2000, FOR HIS HEROIC RESCUE FIFTY-TWO YEARS AGO.

Whereas, in January of 1948, Tommy Gibbs, then age nine, risked his life to save his five year old playmate, Pattie Luntz, from being run down by a speeding train; and

Whereas, Tommy and Pattie were playing walk-the-rail when he heard the engineer of the train sound his whistle for the highway crossing just fifty yards from where they were playing -- he yelled to Pattie to run back into the yard and thought she was behind him -- when he looked around, he noticed she had frozen on the railroad track. Seeing her and the oncoming train, Tommy had the presence of mind and courageNext to dash back to the track and swoop her out of danger just an instant before the train roared past; and

Whereas, Tommy did not realize until afterwards that his Previouscourage and quick thinking saved the day and averted a near tragedy; and

Whereas, he remembers hearing the screech of metal wheels against metal rails as the engineer tried to stop the skidding train, but it was fifty to one hundred yards past where the trembling children stood before it came to a standstill. The engineer told Tommy he saw Pattie's face -- the train was so close -- and he knew he could not stop; and

Whereas, the heroism displayed by Tommy Gibbs hit the national media in 1948, he told reporters: "I've been driving the tractor for my granddaddy for two years. Sometimes I plow and sometimes I bring in the corn." He also demonstrated knots he had learned to tie in the Boys Scouts, talked baseball, and announced a plan that never materialized to "go to Notre Dame and be a chemist". He steadfastly refused to let Patty Luntz kiss him for the photographers. In the picture seen nationwide, he stood stiffly beside the little girl whose life he had saved and was not too happy about wearing a suit and tie; and

Whereas, one of the people who read about the Gibbs boy's bravery was Congressman Frank L. Chelf of Kentucky, who said in a letter to his parents that a bill to create a medal for child heroes "was motivated by the recent heroic deed of your son . . . ." He added, in his own handwriting, "If my bill passes the House and Senate, I hope Tommy is the first youngster chosen to receive this medal; and

Whereas, after almost three years, the legislation was approved by the Senate, the House, and the President and became Public Law 638; and

Whereas, Tommy Gibbs got his own letter from Congressman Chelf in 1956 when he graduated from Aiken High School. "Due to your heroic and selfless action in saving a life, you were responsible for the enactment of the Young American Medal for Bravery," it said. But there was no medal for him in the envelope; and

Whereas, years passed and for some reason Tommy Gibbs never received the medal. After his friend and neighbor, Skipper Perry was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives last year, the two talked about the overdue recognition. Representative Perry suggested Tommy gather the information on the incident and he would contact the appropriate officials in Washington; and

Whereas, decades of patience and perseverance had finally paid off -- Tommy Gibbs was notified by the United States Department of Justice that he would receive the Young American Medal for Bravery Award on April 27, 2000, in Washington; and

Whereas, accompanied by his wife, Donna, and grandson, Lucas, he flew to Washington to receive this special award. United States District Attorney Janet Reno presented the "Young American Medal For Bravery" Award to William T. Gibbs III -- bringing closure to a chapter in the life of Tommy Gibbs, which should serve as an inspiration to other young citizens of our country that bravery is a virtue to be epitomized not only by our government, but also by the people with whom we come in contact very day. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the members of the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, by this resolution, express their deep gratitude and appreciation to William T. (Tommy) Gibbs III of Aiken County on the occasion of being recognized and presented the "Young American Medal for Bravery" Award by the United States Justice Department in Washington, D.C. on April 27, 2000, for his heroic rescue fifty-two years ago.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be presented to

William T. (Tommy) Gibbs III.

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