BY: JOHN WINRIGHT & CHELSIE FIRESTONE – THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Just who is Dalton Surbey?
In this day and age when we are being bombarded with so many negative news stories in the national media, it is refreshing to read in local rural newspapers and see on local TV, coverage about a 17 year old from Montpelier, Ohio that are positive and which should have a great impact on many lives.
Dalton Surbey’s story has seen a lot of press and one would probably be hard pressed to find someone locally who isn’t aware of the actions Dalton took despite his own injuries sustained during a multi-car crash on State Route 576 on February 14. The accident saw both Surbey and 73 year old Duane Ward sustaining serious injuries – and young Dalton ignoring his own injuries, and putting himself at further risk, to ensure that Ward was moved safely out of the middle of the road.
It is a beautiful story and gives everyone who has heard or seen it a lot of hope that maybe today’s youth are not as bad as the news outlets sometimes lead us to believe. There are good people and good teenagers out there. Still, all this begs the question, “Just who is Dalton Surbey?”
Dalton was born in Wauseon, Ohio to Jason Surbey and Nicole Streeter and he presently calls Montpelier, Ohio his home. Upon meeting him, one might think, well he’s just an average teenager. But after initial contact you realize this is a special young man.
His meekness and humbleness are quite evident as is his love for other people. It is no wonder he responded to the critical situation described above in the manner he did. For his part, he said in a personal interview with “The Village Reporter” that he was just being an average kid trying to do the right thing. “I don’t expect people to consider me a hero,” he says. “I just thought Mr. Ward was in trouble and the last thing I wanted was for him to get hurt worse.” Dalton also later noted that the press has been “kind of weird” for him. He’s never been one to stand out too much in the spotlight. He says he appreciates that people appreciate him but he really doesn’t want to brag. Talking to him leaves no doubt – he wasn’t seeking all of this attention; he was just trying to do the right thing and make sure that Ward wasn’t injured again by more oncoming traffic.
Dalton, a junior at Montpelier High school, plays both baseball and basketball for the Locomotives. Because of injuries received in the accident, Dalton estimates that it could be as long as three months before he returns to the court or to the field. Any athlete will tell you that being out is incredibly difficult. However, Dalton’s attitude remains good and he remains grateful, noting that “it could have been a lot worse”.
Upon graduation Dalton would like to attend college and major in criminal justice. For now, he’s only really had a chance to look at Heidelberg but notes that he would like to look at other colleges when the weather is a bit warmer. He loves hanging out with friends, playing Xbox, and of course participating in the high school athletic programs that he is involved with. He also loves watching movies and reading books of personal interest.
Dalton loves to follow Ohio State University and the Detroit Tigers in college and professional sports. He has been a big fan of both all of his life.
When asked if he had an idol or hero figure in his life, Dalton responded by saying, “Through my life so far, I have not really obtained an idol or role model. I just pull positive things from each person I meet and apply them to my life.”
As of right now, Dalton has not yet had a chance to reconnect with Ward, although he notes that he would like to at a later date when Ward has also had a chance to recover. Dalton did explain, however, that he has received updates about Ward’s condition from Ward’s granddaughter, whom attends school with Dalton. Initial reports made to The Leader Enterprise note that Ward is very appreciative of Dalton’s actions. “If he would not have been there, I probably wouldn’t be here,” Ward said. “He could have been hit again, but went out of his way to help me. … Certainly, he is a hero.”
As for Dalton, he says he’s doing fairly well. He is sore and taking the prescribed pain medication. He will return to the doctor for a follow up visit in about a month. Still, most of the injuries he sustained to his lower back will have to heal on their own.
In asking Nicole, Dalton’s mother, what this all means to her, she responded. “As a mother, going through this ordeal is something I never dreamed of. I am so thankful that everything turned out the way it did and everyone is going to be alright. My kids are everything to me. I am always proud of Dalton no matter what he would do, but this I never imagined. He has always been very friendly and loves people. I think Dalton’s reactions were normal for him and I am so thankful that he was there to help. We just hope that if the tables are ever turned, there is someone like my son there to do the same for us. ”
I have a feeling this is not the last we are going to hear about Dalton Surbey. What a fine young man and “Hero.”
John Winright & Chelsie Firestone may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org