BLUE HILL — Phil Petr and Ron Meyer of Blue Hill have been selected as finalists for the national Citizen Service Before Self Honors.
U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., announced the designation Monday. He nominated the men for the award in December 2012 to recognize their bravery for rescuing five children from a burning bus in rural Webster County. The four recipients of the award will be announced on March 11.
"We will never forget the tragic losses that day in Blue Hill, but I'm very pleased to also recognize the courage and bravery of the citizen heroes who responded without training and without hesitation," Johanns said in the news release. "Although we are grateful to all first responders, we are mindful that children's lives were saved because of the heroism shown by Ron and Phil who simply happened upon the scene of the crash. They set a shining example of what it means to put others first, and I hope this recognition serves as a small token of the immense gratitude felt by the community and our state."
Each rural Blue Hill man was working in a different pasture south of the unprotected intersection at county roads R and 1800 when a northbound semi hauling hay bales collided with an eastbound Blue Hill Community Schools bus on the afternoon of Sept. 5, 2012.
The location is about four miles northeast of Cowles.
Killed in the crash were the driver of the semi, 21-year-old Travis Witte of Blue Hill; the bus driver, 59-year-old Marla Wentworth of Red Cloud; and two students riding the bus, 18-year-old Dustin Tesdah and 10-year-old Caroline Thallman, both of Blue Hill. All four died at the scene.