One year after a deadly stabbing rampage at a mall in Taunton, Massachusetts, a man who sacrificed his life has received a posthumous award.
George A. Heath received the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission Medal on Wednesday from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker for his bravery at the incident at the Silver City Galleria on May 10, 2016.
“Some people in a moment of crisis terror, fear, chaos and all the rest simple stand above us all,” said Baker, who presented the award to Heath's wife, Rosemary.
Heath was dining at a Bertucci's restaurant at the mall when Arthur DaRosa, who had fatally stabbed an 80-year-old woman at her home earlier that night, walked in and stabbed a waitress. Heath grabbed DaRosa and was stabbed in the head before another restaurant patron, off-duty Plymouth County Deputy Sheriff James Creed, fatally shot DaRosa.
Heath is now one of only 20 people to be awarded the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission Medal.
“I think in the past year, we’ve been able to take a tragedy, and turn it into a positive,” said Rosemary Heath.
At Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical high school, where Heath taught visual arts, his former students held a memorial service, near a cherry blossom tree they planted a year ago to honor his memory.
“Whenever we look outside, we know he is here with us,” said senior Andrea Smith.
No one knew they would still be learning lessons about life and benefiting, even after his death. Through the George Heath Superhero Scholarship Fund, the senior class will be the first to see the funds after they graduate.
"I’ll tell you, he’s here everyday when you walk into this room you can feel the energy he left,” said administrator Guy Shepherd.
Heath’s wife said George was all about giving to others and she wants to make sure his legacy and generosity inspires others to do the same.
“Open a door, buy coffee for the person behind you. Just do something, think of the people effected that night, and do it in their honor,” said Rosemary Heath.