Don’t Mess With Me!

Maybe that is what James Vernon, chess instructor and coach hailing from Morton, Illinois  should wear on his sport shirt. Now you probably never heard of James Vernon but he saved the day during a class he was conducting on chess for students.  Also, Morton, Illinois probably is not in your daily address book.  It is a village outside of Peoria known best as the home of Caterpillar Corporation.  That is where James worked.

Heroism comes in many ways.  James is a 75-year-old Army veteran and 40 years devoted to volunteering in school chess programs and just then hosting a pumpkin festival.

Suddenly a young man burst on the scene threatening with two long bladed knives.  We all hear about heroics and thankfully James Vernon remembered his military training. He managed to get between the teacher, kids and attacker rushing them out of the library. Then he addressed the attacker, grabbing him and subdued him using collarbone chops while receiving blade cuts.  By then he received help and both were sent by ambulance to the nearby hospital for overnight.  He returned home, left arm in a sling, recovering from two severed arteries and a sliced tendon.  His next weekly schedule for chess went on without postponement, saying: “You have to make all your moves with one hand anyway.”

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