Retired Plano firefighter awarded Medal of Valor

More than 30 years ago, a Plano firefighter put his own life on the line, jumping into a burning home to save two fellow firefighters.

At the time, the department's Medal of Valor didn't exist.

Now it does, and three decades later, as he battles for his life, Vic Cowdrey, the father and former firefighter, finally received a hero's honor this week. 

Cowdrey was known for always being the driver on calls and around the fire station. He had an uncanny love of doing the dishes and always with a smile.

Cowdrey pulled the two injured firefighters from that burning house in October 1983.

“When I was 12, I was riding out at the fire station, and one of the firefighters that he saved came up to me and told me, ‘If it wasn't for your dad I wouldn't be here; my kids wouldn't have a father,’” said Cowdrey’s son, Matt. “That's when I realized he was a hero, not just a firefighter."

Now at 65, the retired firefighter now battles aggressive lung cancer.

“Sadly, it's pretty imminent that it's going to be terminal,” said Matt. “We are probably days away."

Cowdrey's family says he can't talk much, but he’s thankful for Plano firefighters past and present that come by to visit him.

Family say he now keeps his Medal of Valor right next to his bed.