CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - You might find the world feels a little safer with Staff Sergeant Cory Hinkle in it. At least you might when you find out what he did for a woman he didn't even know.
Monday afternoon, Hinkle was driving to his home in Forest City from his National Guard base in Charlotte.
On Boiling Springs Highway in Shelby, Hinkle witnessed a head-on collision in front of him.
"I saw the cars in front of me just slam into each other and dust and smoke go everywhere," Hinkle said.
An Iraq combat veteran, Hinkle didn't think twice about running toward the car that was smoking, to help.
"My instinct and training tells me that a smoke means there's going to be a fire, and a car has gasoline in it," Hinkle said.
As he approached the vehicle, 28-year-old Brandy Guin was trying to get herself out, but couldn't walk because her ankle was broken. Guin, a mother of two, is still in the hospital but told us Thursday afternoon she might not be here if it weren't for Sgt. Hinkle.
Hinkle helped her to safety on the side of the road, but what he did next is truly the definition of 'noble'.
"As the fire started to spread in my car, the shocks started to explode and hot debris was flying everywhere," Guin said, "He shielded me with his body and said 'It's going to have to go through me to get to you."
Hinkle laid his body beside Guin to keep the debris from hitting her body.
A piece of metal hit him on his ankle, leaving it bruised and swollen. But even knowing it could have been worse, Hinkle wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
"It's a belief in humanity that I have. I have a wife and two daughters and I hope if my wife was in the same situation someone would stop and do the exact same thing," Hinkle said.
Hinkle has visited Guin in the hospital and continues to call and check on her every day. The two that were strangers are now friends.
"I will forever be indebted to him. He's a true hero," Guin said.