“I feel like God put us at the right place, at the right time,” said Michele Jorgensen.
Steve and Michele Jorgensen live in the small town of Winside, and in the festivities leading up to July 4th, a neighboring house caught fire because of fireworks.
During the fire, the two were able to quickly help out with Steve running into the burning house and helping small children and others get out alive.
“I was surprised when I saw who was actually in the house and then knowing that the two children were there,” Steve Jorgensen added. “That definitely escalated it really fast. Yeah, it was good timing. It really, really was.”
With the whole community coming out on Tuesday night to celebrate their heroic actions, even Gov. Pete Ricketts, their emotions were running high.
“The big thing for us is, we talked about it so many times. The response from the community. When the fire was happening, I mean people were bringing whatever water they had in their refrigerators, Gatorade, whatever they had in their refrigerators, they were bringing up there for the firemen,” said Steve Jorgensen.
The community’s turn out to celebrate their actions was special, the couple said. Ricketts attended the event to offer words of encouragement and gave the couple awards.
“Tonight, we are here to recognize Steve and Michele Jorgensen for their heroism and Steve running into that burning house to save the children. But, we also need to recognize the heroism of our volunteer firefighters and EMTs. Because these are citizens who volunteer to protect their fellow citizens. They have regular day jobs. They do this on the spur of the moment. Whether it’s a car crash, medical emergency, or a house fire, to come to the aid of their fellow citizens.”
And the Jorgensens, who did not know they were going to be honored prior to the ceremonies, said it was the community who made the whole night special.
”Just look how many other communities came to support us,” Michele Jorgensen added. “How many fire departments, how many firefighters, all-volunteer? I mean, it speaks a lot to small-town America.”