The drive home from a soccer match became pretty interesting for Cape May County's Padraic Roney and Tyler Dougherty.

In August 2008, Roney, 21, of the Del Haven section of Middle Township, and Dougherty, 19, of the Erma section of Lower Township, went to Giants Stadium to see a Major League Soccer game.

On the ride home, Roney, who was driving, saw a car swerving on the Garden State Parkway. Dougherty, who was asleep, awoke just in time to see the car hit a guardrail and flip down an embankment, immediately catching fire.

While Dougherty called 911, Roney ran out of his car and - with the assistance of another driver who stopped - pulled the driver out of the vehicle. Dougherty helped them take the driver a safe distance away from the vehicle.

Roney, certified in CPR, kept the driver awake, and within five minutes, the fire reached the gas tank and the car exploded. The driver escaped with minor injuries.

Roney and Dougherty recently were honored by the Public Service Enterprise Group Foundation and the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority with Dana Christmas Scholarships for Heroism. Both students receive $10,000 that can be used for undergraduate or graduate expenses. Roney is a student at Atlantic Cape Community College who will attend Southeastern University in Florida next spring, and Dougherty attends Covenant College in Georgia.

Despite the recent recognition, Roney plays down his and his friend's act of heroism.

"I didn't think about it," Roney said. "I was gong to do what I had to do. We just couldn't believe it. I just think God had us in the right place at the right time."

Short StoriesOn Friday, Aug. 13, homeless citizens of Atlantic County received a barbecue lunch and access to health and social services during an event sponsored by Project Homeless Connect. Although conducting the lunch was a collaborative effort, instrumental organizers included Mays Landing's Bridget Richardson, Margate's Laura Rodgers, Egg Harbor City's Carmen Mollineaux and Egg Harbor City's Sharai Huertaf. The event reached out to the homeless population of Atlantic County, a community the county estimates to contain about 400 individuals. ... Local members of the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club recently participated in two weeks of environmental programs, supported through a partnership with Atlantic City Cruises, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and the Coastal Conservation Research Program. At the end of the sessions, 80 children ages 9 to 13 now can call themselves Environmental Ambassadors. Atlantic City's Christopher FitzSimmons, director of education at the Atlantic City Aquarium, supervised the program. It aims to educate children about the threats of pollution. It was funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency - one of two awarded in New Jersey - to the Atlantic City Historical Waterfront Foundation.


Short Stories compiled by Emily BrillEveryone Has a Story appears Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. To share your story, call Scott Cronick at 609-272-7017 or e-mail him at


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