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Soldier honored in El Monte for saving kids from burning car in Fresno

Sgt. James Bennett, seen in this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 photo, received the Soldier's Medal for saving two kids from a burning car.

September 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local soldier received a big honor for helping to save the lives of two children trapped in a burning car.

The Army recognized Sgt. James Bennett with the Soldier's Medal for heroism during a ceremony at the El Monte U.S. Army Reserve Center on Saturday.

He was on leave in January when he and his father, J.D., witnessed a fiery car crash in Fresno. They pulled a 2-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl from the burning car. The children's parents did not survive.

"Me and my dad you know, it's just a natural reaction. You just see somebody struggling and you help out. I mean that's what you're supposed to do. Anybody should do it, and that's what we did that night," said Bennett.

The children are now being cared for by family members. The Soldier's Medal dates back to 1922. It is awarded for valor outside of combat operations.