Deputy honored for rescue

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On his birthday, a Fries firefighter made sure another man lived to see another year.


FRIES – Bobby Jones of Fries doesn’t consider himself a hero, but because of his actions a Galax man is still alive today.
Jones is a deputy for the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department and also a member of the Fries Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad.
On the night of Nov. 15, Jones was off-duty and celebrating his birthday with his family at home when the fire department was called to a car accident on Fries Road near the low water bridge on the New River.
There were reports that someone was inside the car and it was on fire.
Jones said he normally goes to the firehouse to get his turnout gear, but on this particular occasion, something told him to go directly to the scene.
He said Jeff Johnson of Fries had stopped at the scene to offer his help and Gary Sumner, who operates the New Riverside Store nearby, was there to assist, as well.
Johnson told Jones he had tried to get the driver out, but the flames were too intense.
Jones said flames were coming from the rear of the car, and there was heavy smoke. He saw the driver’s head through the smoke, jerked the door open and pulled the man from the vehicle.
Johnson helped Jones get the driver up an embankment away from the car.
“About 30 seconds after we got the driver away from the car, it burst into flames,” Jones said.
The driver was identified as John David Tibbs, who lives on Fries Road.
Tibbs was transported to Twin County Regional Hospital in Galax, where he was treated for smoke inhalation and released.
Jones said he felt the “Good Lord had everything in place for Tibbs, and he was there to carry out the plan.”
He said Tibbs, who turned 65 last Monday, called and thanked him.
Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan had words of praise for Jones: “Because of his quick actions and training, a life was saved.”
Vaughan presented a commendation to Jones for his action.