A sanitation worker at the Portage Streets and Sanitation department was honored earlier this week for a heroic act, the City of Portage stated on its Facebook page.

John Thurman was honored Tuesday night by Portage Fire Department Chief Randy Wilkening and presented with the department’s Community Life Saving Award.

Thurman, who is a 14-year employee of the department, was on his sanitation route Jan. 31 when he saw smoke coming from a structure. He stopped and heard a voice calling for help. He rushed to the door and saw an elderly man inside. Thurman pulled the man to safety and helped until the fire department arrived.

Thurman went in, said Wilkening, “without regard for his own personal safety. He was just trying to help his fellow man.

“It is people like John who make Portage great,” Wilkening added.

Thurman’s boss, Streets and Sanitation Department Superintendent Randy Reeder said Thurman is “one who thinks of others before himself.

“Honestly, I’m not a hero. I’m not,” Thurman said when he accepted the award. “The guys that do this every day are the heroes. I was just in the right place at the right time.”