Freddie Finkley, Homeless Army Veteran Pulls Man Out of Burning Car. Hero.

Pensacola, Florida – Freddie Finkley, 56, along with his girlfriend Stephanie Tidwell, have been homeless for about 5 years. They hang out to panhandle in the area of Cervantes Street in Pensacola. But looks can be deceiving: Freddie Finkley is a US Army veteran, and a hero to boot. On April 7, 2021, while standing near the I-10 overpass in Pensacola, the two of them witnessed a massive car crash in which one car burst into flames. Freddie immediately leaped into action to save the driver whose car was in flames. (Law Enforcement today)

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April 7, 2021

Freddie’s girlfriend is a double amputee – he pushes her wheelchair. That day, as they were panhandling, he told the Pensacola News Journal that he saw a car weaving, and it suddenly collided head-on with a pickup truck.

Then I ran onto the bridge. Then the car started to catch on fire, and then the flames were coming through the dashboard.

Freddie Finkley

The driver of the car, Eric Lopez, was so panicked that he told Freddie to leave him in the car. It’s the same kind of response as a drowning person might have when you try to rescue them. But Freddie refused.

I said, ‘I can’t leave you. You’ll burn up.’ So I pried his hands loose from the steering wheel. This other guy came, and we picked him up and toted him up the bridge.

Freddie Finkley

As Lopez was extracted from the car, he suffered a seizure. A passing EMT rendered aid until the ambulance arrived for transport to the hospital.

Stephanie told the Pensacola News Journal that she was screaming the whole time for Freddie to get Lopez out of the car even if he didn’t want the help.

I heard him hit the bridge. I saw Freddie run down there and try to pull him out and him trying to get him out. I heard the guy telling Freddie that he didn’t want to get out.  I started crying, and I just kept crying and telling Freddie, ‘Get him out! I don’t care if he don’t want to get out. Please just get him out.’

Stephanie Tidwell, Freddie’s friend

About a week after the crash, Eric Lopez didn’t remember what happened, which is common. His Grandmother, Sandra McCall met up with Finkley to thank him on behalf of Eric and her family. Eric was apparently truly grateful for Freddie’s help… and so was his grandmother.

You’re truly God’s angel, and I praise God that you were here because you saved my grandson and that means everything to me.

Sandra McCall to the Orlando Sentinel

People who know him say that Freddie Finkley helps anyone – from helping them if they are stranded without gas to changing a flat tire. He doesn’t think of himself as a hero, and credits the Lord for putting him in a place where he needed to be to help someone. ( WKRG)

You know sometimes people who have so little are willing to give so much. People like us — who have been so fortunate and haven’t had to deal with the type of adversity that others have had to face — sometimes, I feel like we forget that these people who are homeless are actually regular folks.”

Stephen Sarty, a commuter who recently met Freddie

Thank you Freddie, for your service and your courage.

*****

Featured photo: KFDI Radio

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