Marcos Ugarte, 15, gets national notice for rescuing child from burning house

A Troutdale teen has become the first minor to be named a citizen hero after rescuing his 8-year-old neighbor from the second story of a burning house last fall.

“I was shocked,” said Marcos Ugarte, a 15-year-old Gresham High School freshman. “There were lots of good nominees, and I liked all of their stories online.”

by: OUTLOOK FILE PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Marcos Ugarte is one of four recipients of the national Citizen Service Before Self award.

Ugarte was among four recipients of the Citizen Service Before Self award. They were selected from among 23 award finalists through the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. Medal of Honor recipients chose the four winners.

Ugarte will be awarded at a ceremony on National Medal of Honor Day — Monday, March 25, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Besides a visit to Florida, this will mark his first East Coast visit.

The event will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Medal of Honor Day, with special events and dinners planned for honorees.

The foundation released a statement that Ugarte stood out for taking action without regard for his own life at such a young age. He was one of three minors named as finalists.

“It’s been a really humbling experience,” Ugarte, said. “I’m very thankful for the nomination.”

The three other honorees were Father Joe Carroll, who developed and ran a homeless support center in San Diego that is now modeled throughout the United States; and Jesse Shaffer III and Jesse Shaffer IV of Braithwaite, La., a father-son team who used their boat to rescue 120 people from their flood-ravaged town after official rescues were called off.

One of the purposes of the foundation is to honor the courage, valor and sacrifice of Americans, along with carrying on the values of the nation’s 80 remaining greatest war heroes.

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