Men who climbed into fiery attic receive awards of excellence |

Men who climbed into fiery attic receive awards of excellence

After a fire broke out early this month in the attic of the Minden Elementary library, two men stepped forward to help without a thought, and received Awards of Excellence for their courage.

Gary Cullen and Doug Acker aren’t firefighters, but they do care about their school, the students and the staff enough to risk their own safety to help.

An air conditioning unit caught fire the morning of May 9, which happened to be a late start, so children were just arriving as the firefighters and police were attempting to deal with the smoke.

Cullen and Acker climbed into the rafters of the attic and contained the fire with fire extinguishers before the firefighters even arrived.

“They absolutely saved the school,” said Tandy Erickson, secretary of Minden Elementary.

They received awards of excellence from the Douglas County School Board Tuesday evening. They came to the meeting on the premise of discussing the fire, and had no idea they’d be receiving awards.

“Gary and Doug are being recognized for their quick response to the fire,” said Superintendent Teri White. “We appreciate all that they do, and in the attic there was fire, smoke, and dry rafters that could have gone up in an instant.”

They received a standing ovation from the school board, as well as the audience.

“I didn’t do much,” said Acker, who is head custodian at Minden Elementary School. “I just helped put out a fire.”