DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The dictionary defines the word 'hero' as a person admired for their achievements and noble qualities. On Tuesday the district attorney's office in Dallas County defined hero by presenting a special award to the man who saved the life of a woman, by simply stopping and helping, when no else would.
This particular 'hero' likes to keep life simple. He is Mr. Fix-It, a quiet, calm campus custodian. Larry Barlow generally goes about his day casually, performing tasks like checking the temperature in each schoolroom.
But, on this day the soft spoken, yet hardworking man was recognized for doing what he's always done -- help. With tears in his eyes he said gratefully, "It feels good. It feels good."
Barlow was also very proud to see and meet Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, who presented the school custodian with the DA's first "Hero Award". "You all have had a hero walking amongst you for years, years and years," Watkins said during the ceremony.
Last week Barlow was on the stand in a Dallas courtroom, testifying about his actions from almost 30 years ago.
The woman known as Mary Smith was bleeding from a gunshot wound. Two men who also raped her had tortured the woman. Mary Smith was only able to survive because of two people in a car who saw her crawling along a road. Barlow is one of those men.
Three decades later the woman faced her attacker in court and also tanked Larry Barlow for saving her life.
"That's what we're on this earth for, to help people, and love people," the officially deemed hero said.
Mr. Barlow is an employee at Withers Elementary School, an institution that is actually focused on one area of study -- heroes. Little did they know, they had one right inside the building.
Barlow had never really talked about his actions in 1983. But then again it's not what he says, it's what he does and has done. In the eyes of children, and even adults, that's the definition of hero.
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