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JULY 16, 2015

Officials Honor Father and Son for Helping to Rescue Three Men From Burning Car

Jorim, Christiane, and Andreas Bonk. Andreas was hospitalized in an unrelated incident at the time of the ceremony.

SELTERS, Germany—Andreas Bonk, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and his son Jorim were among those who received awards on April 16, 2015, for helping to save the lives of three victims of a fiery car crash. The awards were presented in a ceremony attended by the minister of the interior of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg, in southwest Germany, and by two mayors, from Obersulm and Waiblingen, the honorees’ home towns. Minister of the Interior Reinhold Gall (top image, third from right) awarded to Andreas Bonk the Medal for Saving Lives of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg (Lebensrettungsmedaille des Landes Baden-Württemberg). Mr. Bonk’s wife, Christiane (top image, center), accepted the medal on his behalf, since he was hospitalized in an unrelated incident at the time of the ceremony. During the same ceremony, the mayor of Obersulm, Tilman Schmidt (top image, far left), awarded Jorim Bonk (top image, center) a Certificate of Honor (Ehrungsurkunde).

On May 11, 2014, Andreas and Jorim Bonk were driving on the highway to a large meeting for Bible education hosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses where Andreas was scheduled to deliver a Bible discourse. En route, they came upon a tragic car accident. Four U.S. soldiers were trapped inside a burning car lying on its side. The Bonks, as well as two other people, stopped to assist. Andreas risked his life trying to help the passengers escape from the burning car until the police, fire department, and ambulance arrived. Unfortunately, one of the soldiers died. In their coverage of the story, the journal Sulmtaler Woche quotes Minister Gall as stating to the rescuers, “You acted bravely, valiantly, and without a thought for yourselves.” Mayor Schmidt added, “We, the people of Obersulm, are proud of you.”

Picture taken at the scene of the crash.

Andreas Bonk explained what motivated him to perform such a courageous act: “I stopped at the scene of the accident out of concern for my fellow man. To me, every life is precious. . . . If I or any of my relatives were ever in such a situation, I hope that others would be decent and brave enough to step in and help.” Jorim added, “It’s important that we don’t ignore people in need.”

The awards ceremony took place in the Obersulm Town Hall. The German news journal reported on the ceremony and quoted the lord mayor of Waiblingen, Andreas Hesky (top image, second from right), as stating: “You can look back on what you did with great pride. The town of Waiblingen is proud to have such citizens. You are role models in our society.”

Media Contact(s):

International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000

Germany: Wolfram Slupina, tel. +49 6483 41 3110