LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Life long friends Beaver Wallace and Tommy Wiley had each other's backs in Vietnam.
"When you work together and get shot at together or shelled at together," 66-year-old Wallace said, "you get pretty close to people and look out for each other."
Wiley, a former Marine sergeant, said the two were inseparable as friends, but war brought them closer together.
"His foxhole was right next to mine," he said, "so since each of us were by ourselves, I just got in his, because we knew we would protect each other."
There were more than 58,000 U.S. causalities in the Vietnam War. Wiley and Wallace were two of the lucky ones that made it out alive.
Wallace decided to pay the gift of life forward one day.
"I could hear little kids in the house hollering and smoke and flames was coming out of one of the bed room windows," he said.
Wallace had been working as a sheriff deputy in Crosbyton at the time. It was the summer of 1984 when he and Troy Rich saw a smoke billowing from a home.
"We got down on our hands and knees, hollering for them," Wallace said, "and crawled through the house and found them in the back part of the house."
Wallace and Rich saved two little girls and their disabled uncle that day. The girls were just four and three years old at the time.
Wallace said moments like that are what he lived for.
Wallace also became a volunteer firefighter and was awarded a "Lifetime Achievement Award" for his paramedic career.
Wallace and Wiley - two hometown heroes who spent a lifetime devoted to saving lives and a lifetime devoted to friendship.