Red Cross honors local 'Real Heroes' for bravery

Tissues got a workout Thursday at a celebration of local heroes — especially when a Petaluma man honored for pulling a woman from a burning car dedicated his award to his late son, whose dream to become a firefighter was dashed by an accident that paralyzed him.

Tears came to many of the almost 400 people at the American Red Cross "Real Heroes" breakfast in Rohnert Park as contractor Chris Cox accepted a bravery award for what he did upon spotting a car that had crashed and caught fire in Cotati last January.

Cox, 48, recalled in a video shown to the crowd at the DoubleTree Hotel that his son Danny, a former track star and campus comic at Petaluma High, came to mind as he ran to the car.

Since Danny was a small boy he aspired to be a firefighter, Cox said. The father remembered him saying, "I want to help people. I want to save people."

But Danny Cox was 19 when he died eight months ago in a crash on Highway 101 between Petaluma and Novato. A year earlier, his neck was fractured and his spine damaged in a diving accident in South Lake Tahoe.

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