Recent Elizabethtown High School graduate Jesse “J.T.” Bryant was recognized Monday at the Elizabethtown City Council work session as an “outstanding citizen” by Mayor Jeff Gregory.

He received the honor “due to a brave and selfless act of heroism to alert a family of their burning home,” the proclamation read in part.

On Wednesday, in the early morning hours, Bryant noticed the front of a house on Sum­mer­­field Drive in the Nich­olas Ridge subdivision in Elizabethtown was on fire. He then took the initiative to bang on the back door and attempt to wake up the family. The residents woke up to the sound of their dog, a Yorkie named Bella, barking, most likely, in response to Bryant’s attempts. He also called 911.

Eliza­beth­town Fire De­part­­ment Chief Mark Malone said the fire started on the exterior of the home.

“There wasn’t a lot of smoke on the inside of the house to cause the smoke detectors to go off,” he said, noting a fire doubles in size every minute. “If it hadn’t been for J.T., they (the residents) may not have been alerted in an early enough matter for them to have gotten out safely.”

Gregory said the house was a “total loss.”

“I thought it was a remarkable effort by an 18-year-old kid that was out for a drive to have the ... courage to go up there and do that because I don’t think all kids would do that. Some may not even worry about what’s going on or they would go about their business,” Gregory said.

To Bryant he added, “I want to tell you that I am very proud of you and I thought that was outstanding. The Lord puts us in places sometimes for the betterment of our community and that is definitely what happened to you that morning. Congratulations. We appreciate all that you have done.”

Bryant leaves Friday to attend Wabash College in Indiana.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1741 or

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