Published: Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 12:01 a.m.
Real heroes: Ordinary people honored for doing extraordinary things
David Robinson holds his granddaughter Angel Robinson at the Monroe/Sky Valley Family YMCA, where the 4-year-old takes swimming lessons. In April, Robinson was seriously injured when he was hit by an SUV as he crossed a Monroe street while holding Angel. A witness saw him lift Angel over his head to protect her, and the girl suffered only bruises.Photo by Michael O'Leary / The Herald
David Robinson is not a police officer or firefighter. He's not a security guard or surgeon.
When the Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross presents its Real Heroes awards at a fundraising breakfast Thursday at the Tulalip Resort Casino, Robinson will be among the honorees.
The winners list is filled with people and agencies trained to handle emergencies. Heroics go with their jobs. Many who helped save a Snohomish High School girl nearly stabbed to death in October will be recognized at this year's Real Heroes Breakfast. Click here to see a slideshow of the honorees.
For Robinson, a 53-year-old Boeing worker, it was a selfless impulse that turned him into a real hero. He became a lifesaver in the most everyday situation -- simply trying to cross a street.
His granddaughter Angel Robinson, now 4, takes swimming lessons. On April 26, Robinson had taken Angel swimming at Everett's Forest Park pool, and then to dinner at a Monroe restaurant. It was a regular ritual for the pair.
Angel's mother was working at a Rite Aid store in Monroe. The grandfather and granddaughter had walked across a street to the store to see her after dinner.
Holding then-3-year-old Angel in his arms, Robinson began to cross N. Kelsey Street on the way back to his truck. "A driver making a right turn onto U.S. 2 from North Kelsey hit us," Robinson said recently.
As the accident occurred, a witness saw the split-second act for which Robinson is being honored. The witness said Robinson lifted Angel over his head to protect her from being hit by the Dodge Durango, and that she landed on top of him.
"It broke her fall," Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis told The Herald in April.
Robinson, who lives in Lake Stevens, was not so lucky.
He suffered two broken legs, a fractured skull, internal injuries and a broken bone around his right eye socket. "I had a compound fracture in my left leg -- both lower bones were broken -- and a fractured right knee," Robinson said.
He spent six days at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, two of them in an intensive care unit. "I was off work four and a half months," said Robinson, who has worked 33 years for the Boeing Co. and is a functional test mechanic at the company's Everett plant.
"She had a little bruise on her bottom was about all," Robinson said.
The child was taken to Valley General Hospital in Monroe for observation, but was unhurt. "She was in a little bit of shock. It had to be terrifying for her," Robinson said.
He used a wheelchair for more than a month, then crutches and a cane. He still walks with a limp.
He and his granddaughter always had a special bond. His lifesaving impulse only made it stronger.
"I just remember pushing her up and out of the way," he said. "I knew there was no stopping that vehicle from hitting me. I think she went up on the hood and fell on me when she came down.
"Angel is a pretty special little girl," Robinson said.
Along with David Robinson, click here to see a slideshow of the people the local Red Cross will honor at its Real Heroes breakfast Thursday.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.