The one to remember is 30-year-old Chris Mintz, the student and Army vet who was shot at least five times while charging straight at the gunman in an effort to save others.
Mintz did so on the sixth birthday of his son, Tyrik.
“It’s my son’s birthday, it’s my son’s birthday,” he was heard saying as he lay wounded.
When word of Mintz’s heroism reached his kin in his native North Carolina, his cousin Derek Bourgeois was hardly surprised.
“It sounds like something he would do,” Bourgeois said.
Bourgeois was somewhat amazed that a guy who survived a combat deployment without serious injury had come so close to being killed in a small Oregon town not unlike the one in North Carolina where they grew up together.
Bourgeois said he and Mintz had both joined the Army after graduating from high school. Bourgeois had been stationed in Fort Bragg, but Mintz had been sent to Fort Lewis in Washington state. They had both been deployed.
After leaving the Army, Mintz had moved to Oregon and done a bit of mixed martial arts. He had been working at the local YMCA while he enrolled at the community college with an eye toward becoming a fitness trainer.
“He’s a big guy,” the cousin noted.
Mintz did not forget his former comrades in the Army. He marked the seventh anniversary of the death of Army Capt. Richard Gordon Jr. in Afghanistan by posting a photo and a bio of the fallen officer on Facebook.
“‘To the limit.’ Sir, you are not forgotten,” Mintz wrote in the September 28 post.
Think of Chris Mintz, who was shot while rushing a killer on his son’s sixth birthday. Forget the zero and remember the hero.
On Thursday, Mintz began the day with a post that marked the happiest of anniversaries.
“Happy birthday, Tyrik,” he wrote.
Mintz then headed to UCC and his first week of classes. He did just what his cousin would have expected him to do when the gunman began firing.