Gloversville native heroic on Oregon highway

Posted at: 04/24/2013 11:53 PM
By: Dan Levy

JOHNSTOWN - A former Capital Region football star is being hailed a hero after his actions in the Pacific Northwest. 28-year old Mark Cole, a 2003 graduate of Gloversville High School, who now lives in the Seattle area, pulled an injured young woman from a burning car Tuesday afternoon during a frantic and furious race against time.

It was on the deck of the Parquam Bridge in Portland, Oregon, when a 30-ton steel beam, covered in concrete, slid off a flatbed truck and landed on the roof of a Volkswagen. Cole had been riding on the back of the overturned truck.

"As soon as we hit the ground, I saw the flames," Cole said by telephone Wednesday night, "I looked down and could see the flames coming from the side of the beam and I could see the girl just kind of pinned down."

Mark carried the girl to safety, tearing off a part of his shirt to use as a tourniquet.

"I'm proud of him," said Ed Cole, Mark's father, back home in Fulton County. "I'm just so proud of him and what he did and he doesn't think anything of it."

Ed, the father of five sons, says he got the first call from Mark soon after the crash.

"He said, "Dad, all the media has been calling me for interviews," and he goes I don't know what for," Ed says, "He's just a hero and he just doesn't see that."

Christian Rohrs, a long time friend of Mark's, says his high school classmate, who captained the football team, played basketball, and was a record holding shotput athlete, has always been courageous and selfless.

"I am absolutely not surprised," Rohrs said, "I think what's amazing about Mark is that he holds those characteristics. He's somebody who would just do anything for anybody."

"There wasn't much thought to it," Mark reiterated. "I just had to get there, see if anybody was hurt, and then see if anybody was still alive, and I needed to get her out of there."