As a follow up to this previous OneMarinesView Post, BestBuy honors the Marines!
Since Cpl. Phillip Duggan was labeled a hero for helping stop a suspected shoplifter on Black Friday, he said, strangers have begun to recognize and thank him.
"I'm a humble guy," he said. "I don't really do the publicity thing, but I thank everyone for the well wishes."
On Friday, three weeks after the incident, Best Buy employees gathered to give their thanks.
Duggan, 24, had been standing in the store's breezeway with fellow Marines collecting Toys for Tots on the most hectic shopping day of the year when he noticed a man fighting to get past store employees.
"Somebody yelled 'Get 'em' and it was just instinct," Duggan said.
The shoplifting suspect, Tracey Attaway, 39, of Waynesboro, Ga., stabbed the Marine in the back. After Duggan fell, other Marines rushed and tackled Attaway, holding him down until police arrived.
They halted Toys for Tots donations for the day so everyone could follow Duggan to the hospital.
According to General Manager Steve Maxcy, Attaway was trying to steal $1,500 worth of merchandise.
Maxcy and other store employees showed their thanks Friday by presenting Best Buy gift cards to Duggan and the other Marines and employees who helped subdue Attaway.
He also presented a mountain of toys and a check to Toys for Tots for $1,000. Gerald Jones Honda representatives wanted to contribute, so they presented $500 to the organization.
"We felt really bad that this interrupted the fundraising for the kids," Maxcy said. "The worst thing out of the whole incident — once we found out everything was OK — was to have the kids in our community suffer."
When Commander Greg Smith accepted the checks for the organization, he told the crowd that Marines do not consider themselves heroes.
"We never try to put ourselves in the axis of evil," Smith said. "It's just something that happens. But we consider it our family out there — whether it's Iraq, Afghanistan or small-town Augusta. We do what Marines do, and that's protect our nation."
Smith said the Marines' main focus at Christmas is children. Last year, the organization helped 7,000 families, and this year it had a goal of 10,000.
Heather Williams was in the crowd, snapping pictures and clapping along with the rest of the customers and employees who had gathered. She wore a red Toys for Tots T-shirt to show support for the organization and for Duggan, her boyfriend.
It was a return visit for her, too. She had rushed to his side the day he was hurt.
"He called and said, 'Hey, can you come to Best Buy? I'm in an ambulance,' " she said.
When she learned what he had done, she wasn't surprised.
That's just the kind of person he is, she said.