MANASSAS, Va. (WDVM) — It was business as usual while Manassas Street Department workers repaired a dip in a neighborhood road in August.
“The guys are pretty busy, so whoever’s not as busy needs to be looking out for citizens,” said Larry Jones, a 14-year veteran at the street department.
“Cones were already up, we were already in the middle of working, and then Larry just happened to notice the baby just strolling down the sidewalk as we were saw-cutting the road,” said operator Deon McNeal.
The toddler was walking down the street barefoot in her nightgown. Operator Dustin Frosk says he looked around for the girl’s parents. When he didn’t see them, he walked up to her to be sure she was alright. Co-worker Chris Frazier picked her up off the hot pavement, and the group walked door to door, asking neighbors if they recognized her.
“Someone could’ve come and grabbed her…a car could’ve hit her…I don’t even want to think about what could’ve happened,” said Frazier.
McNeal says it was about eight to 10 minutes before the girl’s dad came running up the street: grateful and relieved. “That was the last thing I expected to do on a Friday,” said McNeal.
“He came running up and he looked like he saw a ghost. He was scared,” said Frosk.
It wasn’t until the morning of a city picnic that McNeal says he discovered the group had been rewarded for their heroism. They received the Above and Beyond Award later that day.
McNeal and Frosk were surprised that they’d won the award, especially when compared to the others who’d been nominated. “I figured what I did was what anyone would have done if they’d seen a child on the road,” McNeal said.
“I have two kids. I know if one of them would’ve gotten out I would’ve wanted the same thing done, so it’s just second nature, really,” said Frosk.