DALLAS - Two ordinary men were honored on Monday for their extraordinary actions.
Dustin Jones and James Shaw Jr. are heroes to many people. Both men stepped up during two separate violent crimes that made national headlines.
For the first time, they met on Monday in Dallas when they were honored by their employer, AT&T.
Both of these men were just out having a good time when they were faced with life and death situations. Their quick actions saved their lives and those people around them.
Two AT&T employees who have never met before have now bonded by their sense of duty during times of extreme danger and violence.
“It just brings back memories. I'm not use to it,” said Dustin Jones, who is a network service manager for AT&T. “I've been burying it for a while.”
Jones was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from a window in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and killed 58 people. Jones was at the concert with family and friends. He escaped over a fence but decided to go back.
“Instinct kicked in to survive,” he said. “And then once I got past me, it turned back to helping friends and family.”
Jones is credited with helping to lead nearly 100 concertgoers, some who were wounded, to safety inside a nearby office building. His daughter, Riley Jones, gets emotional thinking about it.
“He's always been the one to help,” she said. “So it's not surprising at all.”
Jones' actions earned him AT&T's Vail Award, which recognizes heroic acts carried out by its employees.
James Shaw Jr. received the same high honor. He was inside a Waffle House near Nashville on April 22 when a man walked in and started shooting, killing four people inside.
“I looked back and there was a guy on the floor in the door, and he was no longer living,” the wire technician recalled.
Shaw was shot in the right arm but managed to disarm the gunman. Investigators say his bravery saved the likes of others.
“Violence is never ever the way to go,” Shaw said. “There are four people that don't get their life back, and I don't want their story to die. Their legacy should continue.”
Shaw and Jones each received $15,000 from AT&T.
Jones didn't speak at the podium because he was too emotional. However, both men received lots of love and support from their colleagues in the crowd.