Buda’s new chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) April 3 awarded Buda Police Officer DeMerriell Young its inaugural Public Safety Award.
Young was nominated for the award by Police Chief Bo Kidd for his service during a horrific train accident involving a young teenager in 2016.
The accident occurred when 13-year-old Tanley Yacos was struck and killed by a Union Pacific train on March 26, 2016. Yacos and a friend, who was sleeping at Yacos’ house, had both snuck out and were walking along the tracks when the accident happened.
Young was present during the investigation afterward and saw that the train’s operator was shaken and crying. The operator was an older gentleman and watched the events transpire.
“Officer Young could see that this man was shaken up and hurting badly … [He] did the one thing he thought might help. He put his hand on the man’s shoulder and prayed for him. He prayed that God could give him comfort and strength to get through this tragedy,” Sgt. Erika Simmons said during the city council meeting.
Simmons was also present at the investigation and brought Young’s kind actions to the chief’s attention.
Kidd said he nominated Young not because his acts were overtly heroic, but because Young was able to step back and “take his cop hat off for a little while.”
“I was impressed that he stopped the investigation for a little bit and just wanted to care for another human being,” Kidd said. “I just had never seen that before and it touched my heart that he did that.”
“There have certainly been things that my guys have done that are more heroic, but this was something I thought should be recognized,” Kidd said. “You could just see the effect on [the operator]and how much he appreciated it, that’s what really made it.”
Post Commander Bob Holcomb was a member of the Kyle/Buda VFW Post 12058 before starting the Buda Post 12161 in 2017, presented the first Public Safety Award honoring first responders in the Buda area for service in 2016.
“Service comes in many forms. This is the type that won’t make any headlines, but is good for our communities and good for our profession,” Simmons said.