A woman who pulled an unconscious big-rig driver to safety from a fiery crash in San Francisco last October has been selected as one of 20 finalists for a national award honoring heroic acts.
Keenia Williams, 22, was selected as a finalist for the Citizen Before Self Honors, awards handed down by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
On the morning of Oct. 19, Williams was driving her 5-year-old daughter to school on southbound U.S. Highway 101 when she saw the crash happen in her rearview mirror.
She then saw cement truck driver Michael Finerty get out of the truck and pass out on the ground as spilled fuel caught fire nearby.
Williams stopped her car, got out and ran to Finerty and dragged him away from the crash scene, saving him from severe injury or death.
Emergency responders had arrived at the crash from the north and did not initially see Finerty while looking for victims. He was treated for minor injuries and released later that day.
Williams has been honored locally, both by Mayor Ed Lee and by the California Highway Patrol, but now could win an award on the national level.
She is one of 10 finalists selected for performing a single act of extraordinary heroism.
Another 10 were selected for their willingness to sacrifice for others through a prolonged series of selfless acts, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
The foundation hands out the awards to civilians to promote awareness of what is represented by the Medal of Honor, the highest honor that can be given to a member of the military.
Each finalist will receive an embossed certificate. A panel of Medal of Honor recipients will select three individuals to receive the honors.
The winners will be announced on March 12 and honored at a ceremony on March 23 near the shadow of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
More information about the 20 finalists can be found at www.citizenservicebeforeselfhonors.org.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News