Part 1 of 2
What's my purpose in life? Almost everyone asks that question at some point in time. Daniel Jarvis did.
Life had been difficult for the 23-year-old man from West Terre Haute when he was growing up. And it improved little as he reached maturity. The ridicule he received through the years from schoolmates about his weight was just one source of pain Dan lived with. But even though he seemed to live under Murphy's Law, if anything can go wrong, it will, Dan had a heart bigger than he was and always tried to help a wounded soul.
In August he was on his way to Holiday World for the Great Dane company picnic with his fiancee, Dawn Norris, and their 23-month-old son, Jacob. He noticed a car on the opposite side of the road with the hood up and steam pouring out.
Dan always carried a couple jugs of water in his truck for emergencies. He figured the car they'd passed was overheated. He asked Dawn if it was OK to turn around and take the water to the stranded motorists, which they did.
Last spring he noticed an elderly lady walking on U.S. 40 in downtown Terre Haute. She looked to be in her 70s and appeared worn out. Dan stopped and asked if she'd had car trouble and needed help.
Much to his surprise, she told him she had hitchhiked from Indianapolis and was going to Paris, Ill. He never heard the reason for her quest, he just told her to get in and he drove her to Paris. If he could help anybody, he would.
Early Sept. 2, Dan was riding around West Terre Haute with a friend at 3 a.m. As they drove by the home of 73-year-old family friend, Goldie Brock, Dan saw smoke coming from her trailer. He didn't know that Goldie's daughter, Brenda Brock, 49, was there, also, because her mother had health problems.
Dan knew that Goldie's bedroom was at the back end of the trailer by the kitchen. Before the car even stopped, he jumped out, ran to the back door and kicked it in. He was yelling frantically, "Goldie, get up, the trailer's on fire. Please get out."
Brenda was awakened by Dan's yells. She exited safely right behind Dan as he helped Goldie out the door. The electrical fire did extensive damage to the trailer but both women were unharmed.
"In this little community here in Dresser everybody knows everybody," said Brenda Brock. "We're all like family. We told Dan we were forever in his debt for saving our lives. He said, 'You don't owe me anything, I'm just glad I could get you out.' If he hadn't done what he did, we'd have died for sure. He was a hero."
Tomorrow: Dan meets his destiny.