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A Brave Teacher Dies Saving His Autistic Student From An Oncoming Bus

Thu, January 6, 2011 3:52pm EDT by Add first Comment

Thomas “Jim” Dunn Jr., a teacher and single father of two, died on Monday (Jan. 3), after pushing his student out of the way of a bus.

What a terribly sad story. Thomas “Jim” Dunn Jr. died on Monday (Jan. 3), saving the life of his student. Jim, a teacher aide at the Camelot Therapeutic Day School — a school for children with autism in Bourbonnais, Illinois — had been working as a mentor to the 19-year-old autistic student for more than a year. After they grabbed a soft drink at the gas station across the street, a River Valley Metro Mass Transit bus turned on to the road they were crossing — leaving the student in its path. That’s when Jim stepped in.

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According to eyewitnesses, Jim, 46, leapt out onto the street and shoved the student out of the way before being hit by the vehicle. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead later that afternoon. “He was an angel sent down from heaven, that’s all I can say,” the student’s mother told the Chicago Tribune.

Jim was a single father to two children, his 15-year-old son Ian and his daughter Brenna, who turns 11 today. Jim worked alongside his son to help him conquer his struggle with ADHD and dyslexia. Both kids are currently under the care of their uncle, attorney Patrick Dunn.

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“Knowing Jim Dunn, it wouldn’t be surprising had he done that,” a friend of Jim’s, interim Bourbonnais police chief Greg Kunce told ABC-7. “He’s a true hero if in fact it’s determined that he pushed that child out of the way. That’s a selfless act that he would have done.” Jim, an auxiliary police officer, was a history buff and a Star Trek fan who belonged to a rescue organization for Labrador Retrievers. “It’s hard to even express in words sometimes how much were going to miss him,” his brother Patrick said. “It’s very, very hard.” Our hearts go out to Jim and his family.

Watch the ABC news report on Jim below.

–Leigh Blickley

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