Huntington Men Recognized for Saving Family's Lives

By Rachel Martin

August 9, 2012 Updated Nov 2, 2013 at 4:25 AM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The men credited with saving a family’s lives from a burning home were honored with commendations from the mayor and fire department.

Robin Hale and Mike Malies are the kind of neighbors many people wish they had.

“It's my firm belief that if it hadn't been for those two, it'd just be me and my oldest daughter right now,” said Tim Jacquay.

Thursday, those men were presented with commendations from Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters and the Huntington City Fire Department for their acts of bravery.

On the night of July 23, Tim Jacquay's home caught on fire, trapping his wife, Heidi, and three of their four daughters inside. The flames were so intense, nothing was left behind.

“My first thought was, oh my God how did anyone make it out of there?” said Jacquay.

That's when Hale and Malies came to the rescue.

“I didn't have time to ask myself what am I going to do, I just reacted,” said Mike Malies, a retired volunteer firefighter who also lives across the street from the Jacquays.

“You think about your own family. You know, you don't want to see anybody get hurt,” said Robin Hale, who has six children of his own.

Now, the City of Huntington and Jacquay family consider them heroes. Tim says his family is forever indebted to not only their neighbors, but also their new lifelong friends.

“To know that there are people out there that would put their self in danger to save another family in danger, it's absolutely overwhelming,” said Jacquay. “I could give them $10 million and it still wouldn't be enough.”

“I don't know if I'm a hero or not,” said Hale. “I mean it's nice, but I'm just glad they're all safe and happy and everybody's doing good.”

“I don't know if I could actually live with myself just watching the fire and not going in after them,” Malies said.

Rufus McKee of Huntington also helped to save the Jacquay’s lives, but he was not present at Thursday’s presentation.

Jacquay says ever since the fire, there’s been an outpouring of giving from the community. Malies says people have been stopping by and dropping off items, which he’s been storing in his garage.

“Once they heard they lost everything in the fire, they just started bringing stuff left and right,” said Malies. “I mean, entertainment centers, dressers, tables, clothes, toys for the girls, everything.”

Jacquay says he’s been living in Huntington for the past 18 years, and was considering moving his family to another town. But the graciousness of the community has changed his mind.

“There’s no way I could leave this town,” he said. “Just the amount of support that was given to us, I wouldn’t get this anywhere else I don’t believe.”

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