other previous winners

A Rare
of Courage

Terry Self, an off-duty firefighter, with twenty years service, overcame unthinkable physical and mental obstacles to lead in the rescue of two young boys from atop a 120' electrical transmission tower. The fearlessness of this hero and the complex human drama of this event captivated many across our nation due to live television network coverage.
The drama began after 4 PM on February 11. A 10 Year-old autistic boy with a fixation for heights had climbed a 12 story high-powered tower. His 17 year-old brother with a pronounced fear of heights followed in a rescue attempt.

Terry Self, home on a day off, viewed a news bulletin on the incident and responded immediately to the scene. He volunteered to be the lead climber with Technical Rescue Team co-member Jeff Mitchell to follow.

The circuit to the tower was closed and its 230,000 volts of electricity were diverted. The power company advised there was strong possibility spontaneous static discharge with a minimum of 20,000 volts still remained in the lines.

This extremely dangerous situation was intensified by fading sunlight and falling temperatures, along with television helicopters hovering nearby and spectators gathering below.

Self and Mitchell were taken to the 60' level by an aerial ladder. The arduous free-climb then began. Self assumed the lead and reached the boys 15 minutes later.

Terry Self (left) with Technical Rescue Team co-member Jeff Mitchell
 Self used his skills as a firefighter, paramedic and, most importantly, as a parent to assure the boys they were safe and to prepare them for the descent.

Once back on the ground, everyone celebrated the relief from danger and the joy of success. The event seemed to last a second--and a lifetime. It will endure forever in the minds of so many.


1997 Winner: Terry Self


Firefighter Terry Self shown here receiving the 1997 FFOTY Award along with a check for $1,000.00 from United Fire.