Matt Uhrin, the FedEx driver from Cedar Rapids, Iowa who intervened last Thursday to save American flags from protesters trying to burn them, will not be fired for his actions.
Video of Uhrin with a fire extinguisher saving an American flag from protesters trying to set it ablaze at the pedestrian mall in Iowa City, Iowa quickly went viral with the hashtag #FedExGuy.
By Friday, an online petition was created to commend Uhrin for his actions and ensure he would not be punished. The petition has so far reached 12,661 signatures, exceeding its goal of 10,000 signatures.
FedEx sent out a tweet Saturday affirming that Uhrin will remain an employee.
We have reviewed the matter in Iowa City involving driver Matt Uhrin. He remains a FedEx employee & we have no plans to change his status.
— FedEx (@FedEx) January 28, 2017
The tweet has been liked 55,000 times and shared over 21,000 times.
The protesters at the mall said they were burning the flags to stand up to racial and social injustice.
Paul Osgerby, 23, and Kelli Ebensberger, 21, were charged with violating Iowa City's public burn ordinance and are scheduled to appear at the Johnson County Courthouse on Feb. 23 at 8 a.m., the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. The misdemeanor is punishable by a $625 fine or up to 30 days in jail.
"When I see the flag, I see racial injustice," Osgerby said on Thursday. "I see social injustice from Native American genocide to African-American slavery to failing to recognize women as citizens until the 20th century."
But Uhrin, a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for eight years, values the American flag. He told local ABC affiliate KCRG-TV on Saturday that he acted on instinct, and does not see himself as a hero.
"I don't feel like I deserve the praise, I never wanted it, it's just humbling," Uhrin said.
"It really hurts when you see [the American flag] disgraced, and I think that's why everybody loves it the way they do," he continued. "That's why I love it."
Uhrin does not mind some of the memes that have been made since the incident went viral. His favorite is one that features him on the cover of the video game Call of Duty.
"Each person has their own reasons for why they sign the dotted line," he said. "The ones that are really the heroes are the ones that were injured, maimed, killed, the ones that never got to see home again. They're the heroes."
When asked if he would do it again, Uhrin said he would do it "in a heartbeat."
He is not asking for donations or rewards. Instead, Uhrin asks that people donate to one of the many programs that aid veterans.