Profile in Courage: The Citizen

Off-duty Army Specialist Michael Menchaca put his life in danger to save a man in a wheelchair who had fallen onto the tracks at the Washington, D.C. Metro Center.

By Daryl Chen
Also in Reader's Digest Magazine January 2014

Michael MenchacaMike McGregor
On July 4, Army Specialist Michael Menchaca, 21, of Fort Myer, Virginia, wearing an off-duty outfit of a Batman T-shirt and pajama pants, performed a superhero feat. He was at the Metro Center station in Washington, D.C., when a man in a motorized wheelchair rode off the platform and onto the tracks. Menchaca immediately jumped down to help even though the electrified third rail was nearby. “I was worried about the guy,” he says. Three other people jumped down, and they hoisted the man and then his chair onto the platform. Menchaca stayed with the man until an ambulance arrived. The specialist’s wife, Carmen Alvarado-Menchaca, isn’t surprised that her husband was the first to act. “He’s only afraid of the man upstairs,” she says.

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