Clemson University students Joseph H. Pope Jr. and Charles A. Segars III received the Citizen Award from the Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) last week for their selfless and heroic actions in saving the lives of two fellow students in September 2023. It was the second public recognition for both Pope and Segars, who were honored in November by Clemson City Police with Life-Saving Awards during a City Council meeting.
“I hope most people would have tried to assist in a similar situation,” Pope said. “We did what we could to help.”
During the early morning hours of September 2, CUPD officers responded to a severe motor vehicle collision with injuries in the area of Old Stone Church Road and Cherry Road in the City of Clemson. As officers approached the scene, they were confronted with a fully involved vehicle fire and multiple witnesses gathered around. The two occupants had already been removed from the vehicle.
Pope and Segars, identified as bystanders at the scene, had rushed to assess the situation and discovered individuals were still trapped inside the vehicle. Undeterred by the fire, the two acted decisively, breaking the driver’s side window to extract the driver before breaking the passenger’s side window to rescue the second occupant.
Thanks to their quick thinking, remarkable bravery and disregard for their safety during these critical moments, Pope and Segars undoubtedly contributed to saving the lives of what was discovered to be fellow students. Pope injured his arm during these heroic efforts, underscoring the sacrifices made to serve their fellow citizens.
Pope’s busy week concluded in Columbia, South Carolina on Sunday, Jan. 21 when he was presented the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms from the Boy Scouts of America. Less than 300 individuals among millions of scouts worldwide have earned the distinction.
“A lot of the people in my troop from Clemson came down and were with me and my parents,” said Pope, a junior mechanical engineering major. “My mom put the medal on me, and it was a neat ceremony.”