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'Blue Line Hero' Met the President, But Woman He Saved Remains a Mystery

By Jon Hansen | April 2, 2015 8:03am

PILSEN — In the year following his dramatic Blue Line rescue, Eddie Palacios has met Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, President Barack Obama and countless other well-wishers. 

But he's still never met the woman he saved. 

The White House Photo Office

One year ago Thursday, while standing on the Chicago Avenue Blue Line stop platform, I saw a woman fall on the tracks. Almost immediately afterwards, I saw what looked like an orange blur jump on the tracks. 

That blur was actually Palacios, who was successful in getting the train to stop.

The woman got off the tracks and was given medical attention, and Palacios continued his commute to O'Hare International Airport, where he works with the Transportation Security Administration. The woman then left before anyone could learn her name.

The next few days and weeks were a whirlwind of attention for Palacios, his wife Carolina and their two children.

At a ceremony in Washington, D.C., the Pilsen native was given the Secretary's Award for Valor from Secretary Johnson. Palacios was later supposed to meet Obama at the White House, but after a schedule change, a meeting was arranged in Chicago instead.

While the dust has mostly settled, Palacios still gets emails from people who want to thank him for what he did, and from organizations who want to honor his heroic efforts. 

Last week, I grabbed coffee with the Palacios to try probe a little deeper as to what led him to jump into harm's way to save a stranger:

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