Posted 11/15/11 – In front of a crowd that included Mrs. York’s Sierra Madre School third grade class, the CA State Firefighters’ Association presented its 2011 Valor Award to John Shear at the Sierra Madre Fire station on Monday morning.
In March of this year, Shear, at the age of 90-years old, threw himself between a 6-year old girl and a 3-year old gelding named Sea and Sage that had broken loose at Santa Anita Park, where Shear has been employed since December of 1961. The little girl was fine, Shear suffered multiple pelvic fractures, a fractured cheekbone, and gashes above his left eye and on his left arm. Shear was hospitalized for more than a month.
Overnight, Shear’s story filled the radio and television airwaves, and his story appeared in hundreds of print media. He was named Hometown Hero in the Sierra Madre 4th of July parade. On October 1st, Santa Anita paid tribute to Shear, designating one of that day’s races “The John Shear Hero Purse.”
The Medal of Valor is awarded to individuals that voluntarily risk their own life to an extraordinary degree in saving or attempting to save the life of another person, or voluntarily sacrificed themselves in a heroic manner for the benefit of others.
Said Sierra Madre Fire Chief Steve Heydorff “From Sierra Madre, we’re all real, real proud of him.” Kevin Nida, president of the CSFA, in presenting the award said “It goes to show that you can make a huge difference in somebody’s life. The Medal of Valor, we give out very few of these each year, you have to put yourself at risk, and not know what the potential is, and not wear protective equipment, and I think what you did is very, very heroic.”
The CSFA had its annual awards dinner to present its annual awards on Sept. 30th, but Mr. Shear was unable to attend. So the CSFA made the trip to Sierra Madre to present him with the award in this special ceremony. Shear received both a medal and a plaque, the plaque stating that “On March 12, 2011, 90-year old John Shear, paddock guard for Santa Anita Race Track, prevented a girl from being trampled by horse due to his quick actions.”
Family and friends were joined at the ceremony by members of the SMFD, the SMPD, and the city’s CERT team, city staff, and Susanne York’s Sierra Madre School third grade class, which performed a song for Mr. Shear behind a colorful poster congratulating him.
Enjoy the photo gallery (click to enlarge photos) below the video…