On Sept. 25, Bruce Wood became a hero.
Wood, a trash and recycling collector in Baltimore County, was awarded a Baltimore County Hero pin and a citation from County Executive Kevin Kamenetz Wednesday.
The recognition resulted from his efforts to save Patricia Miller, her husband Irvin Miller and their dog Maizee from their burning home — at 516 Bathurst Road in Catonsville — the morning of Sept. 6.
The couple and their dog were fast asleep just before 6 a.m. when the fire broke out. Because he switched up his route that day, Wood was able to see the smoke, stop the truck and get his crew to help him call the fire department and awaken the couple before they could be injured, or worse, in the blaze.
The modest ceremony took place in front of the Catonsville Fire House on Frederick Road and provided Patricia Miller a chance to see Wood for the first time since the day of the fire.
"It was great to see him because there's a chance I wouldn't be here right now if it hadn't been for him," Patricia Miller said at the ceremony.
"On behalf of the 817,000 residents of Baltimore County, we all sincerely thank you for your lifesaving efforts," Kamenetz told Wood.
"What an incredible act of heroism Bruce, selfless heroism,” Kamenetz said. “You and your coworkers put your own lives at risk to save the lives of perfect strangers.”
After he was handed his awards, Miller took to the podium and, with tears in her eyes, thanked Wood for his help.
"Thank you so much, forever," Miller said
"It just warms my heart," to see him, Miller said. "Whether he thinks he is [a hero] or not, he is."
"For me, I'm glad she's good," Wood said. "At the time I just thought that something needed to be done."