ACU to honor Fort Worth fire marshal for saving life of student


For Immediate Release
September 17, 1999

ABILENE - On Monday, Sept. 20, Abilene Christian University officials will honor Lonzo Wallace, a fire marshal and deputy fire chief in Fort Worth, and his wife, Nell, for saving the life of Anthony Noe, an ACU freshman.

The Wallaces will be honored in ACU's daily chapel service Monday at 11 a.m. in Moody Coliseum on the ACU campus.

After a horrific one-vehicle motor vehicle accident on Sept. 7, Wallace risked his own safety to save Noe's life.

Noe was returning to Abilene from his home in Aurora, Colo., in his 1985 Chrysler New Yorker when he fell asleep at the wheel around 1 a.m. near Merkel. The Wallaces were traveling behind Noe.

Wallace had told his wife to follow Noe because he was good driver. Moments after that comment, the couple watched in horror as the car went off the road.

The New Yorker left Interstate 20 and flew into a concrete embankment. The Wallaces pulled over immediately, and according to news reports, the engine of Noe's car was on fire.

Wallace ran to the edge of the embankment where he could hear Noe moaning, but unable to crawl from the car. Putting his own life in danger because of intense heat, Wallace went to Noe to pull him out of the car.

In a news interview, Wallace said, "I picked him up and dragged him from the car and around the corner to protect him from the smoke and flames."

Moments after Wallace rescued Noe, the car exploded.

"Had Mr. Wallace not pulled Anthony from the car, he would have died," said Wayne Barnard, ACU's assistant provost and dean of campus life.

The Wallaces heroic actions went far beyond saving Noe's life, Barnard said. They saw the student to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. Then while Wallace returned to Fort Worth for a City Council meeting, his wife stayed with Noe in the hospital. Wallace returned later in the afternoon, and the couple stayed until Noe's parents arrived.

"We want to recognize the Wallaces for their heroic actions," Barnard said. "Too many people stand on the sidelines and never get involved when they should, but the Wallaces did get involved. Because of that, we are celebrating a life rather than mourning the loss of one."

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Last update: Sept. 17, 1999
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