WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Mount Tabor High School junior Malik Sheppard admits he wasn’t always on the right path. Two years ago, he decided to make a change for the better and became a JROTC cadet.
“ROTC played a big role as far as my actions on that day,” Sheppard said, referring to Saturday, March 3. “Specifically in that moment.”
Sheppard was walking down Trade Street in Winston-Salem, when he heard an accident happen near the 100 block of Glenn Avenue.
“I started to look over the hill and I started to actually begin to see the truck, and not the car,” he detailed.
Police say two vehicles had collided and a man was left unconscious.
“I see the smoke coming up in the air, so I decided to dart over there,” Sheppard said.
When he got to the scene, Sheppard says there was a woman trying to get one of the doors open, while the unconscious man was still inside. While remaining calm, Sheppard put his JROTC training to use.
“I had to actually put more force into it, so I had to put my body into the door, so it could actually crack open,” he recalled. “I guess you would say it was just more of an in that moment thing, I have to get this done before something worse could possibly happen.”
Sheppard, with the help of other onlookers, was able to free the man from the vehicle. After police, firefighters and EMS got there, he had time to reflect.
“I started to process everything that was, like, ‘What did I do then, hold on how did I do that?’” he said. “'Where did that come from?'”
On Thursday, Sheppard was recognized by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Dr. Beverly Emory for his actions and character.
Sheppard says he hasn’t met the man he helped free face-to-face but has been following his condition.
“I’m glad he’s doing well,” Sheppard said.