Chris Thorp of California was the Co-Program Manager of Operation Enduring Warrior-Task Force Sentinel. He has overseen programs that reach out to wounded veterans and former soldiers, rehabilitating them and giving them support.
One day, Chris had picked up his wife from work. They were going to go to an auto repair shop to get her car. While going around the parking lot, Chris spotted a young man with burn scars on his face and body.
He wasn’t sure if the young man was someone he recognized, but something called out to him. A memory came into his mind and he muttered to his wife:
"I wonder if that’s him…"
He dropped his wife, Jenah, off at the repair shop and parked his car so he could talk to the young man. Chris wasn’t sure if he was going to make a fool of himself, but his instinct told him it was the person he was looking for.
Almost thirteen years had passed by. The last time Chris saw him, he was just a toddler, around four-years-old. And he had been in a fiery car crash.
When the young man said yes, Chris couldn’t believe it. Goosebumps appeared on his arms. But he continued to ask some things to make sure it was the right person he was talking to. He asked if the young man was involved in a car crash on Highway 101 off Windsor when he was a toddler.
Christian said he was and it was then that Chris revealed who he was. He was one of the people who pulled the little boy out of a burning car. Chris and other people had beaten the fire with their jackets and pried open the door to get the little boy out of the backseat.
Chris and Christian talked about their lives, still marveling at the miracle of their encounter. Then, the older man stopped Christian and said that he had something for him. Chris had the Gold Medal of Valor in his glove compartment, which he'd actually received after saving Christian so many years ago. He gave it to Christian and said that the young man was a Warrior, braver than he could ever be.
On his Facebook page, Chris narrated the event and wrote:
"He accepted it, and in a lot of ways I realized I had been merely it’s Keeper, until the time came for him to take possession. I still don’t know how I feel. Him and his Family are very much a part of me. A part of me has come home, and at the same moment a huge weight has been lifted from my heart. Well, Higher Power… If you are there. Thank You."
Both Chris and Christian will forever remember this powerful encounter in the years to come.