Chris Mintz cemented his hero status in a matter of seconds one beautiful, October morning. What started as a routine day at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College for the Army veteran ended as one he’d never forget.
It was Oct. 1. Mintz went to school and planned to celebrate his son’s sixth birthday later that day. A stranger changed those plans, and changed his life forever.
A gunman opened fire at the college that day, killing nine. It was Mintz who quickly ran to alert other students about the shooter on campus. He eventually came face-to-face with the gunman who shot him five times.
Mintz says he tried to reason with the shooter, letting him know it was his son’s birthday. Mintz says the gunman had a chance to shoot him in the face, but did not.
Born and raised in Randleman, N.C., Mintz graduated from high school in 2003 and enlisted in the Army a year later. Mintz trained at Fort Benning, Ga. before being stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington. He served until March 2007. Though the infantryman never deployed, he did receive three awards for his service: the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
Mintz moved to Oregon nearly seven years ago to get a “fresh start,” his family said. He had been living in a trailer, struggling to make it in the furniture business when Oregon came calling.
In addition to his heroism on that fateful day, Mintz is an autism advocate. His son has autism and Mintz uses his Instagram account to promote acceptance. He’s launching a line of workout shirts called #LiftForAutism.
The account of Mintz’s bravery on that Oregon campus struck a chord with so many people, a GoFundMe that was started in his honor far surpassed its $10,000 goal. It raised more than $818,000 and is still increasing daily.
Mintz was recently named Oregon’s “Person of the Year.” A private person, Mintz said he simply wants to blend in instead of basking in all of the fanfare about his bravery. Mintz received a Citizen Honors Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society on Friday, March 26. He and four other recipients were recognized in a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
“I never claimed to be a hero,” Mintz wrote on Facebook. “I’m just a regular guy.”
Watch the full YouTube videos credited above: Army Veteran Chris Mintz called a hero in Oregon College Shooting Incident via TopGunMilitary, ‘I’m doing well,’ says UCC shooting hero Chris Mintz via The Oregonian, Hero Chris Mintz Tried to Stop Oregon Shooter on Son’s Birthday via New York Daily News