Army Sgt. Stephen Trujillo, cited by President Reagan as an American hero, said today he was just doing his job when he rescued wounded fellow soldiers in Grenada.
The Rev. Bruce Ritter, who works with runaway and homeless teenagers in New York City's Times Square, said he appreciates Reagan's praise, but any credit should shared by 700 other people who work with him.
Barbara Proctor, praised by Reagan for her rags-to-riches rise in the business world, said she was so surprised by the president's comments she 'thought it was a practical joke.'
Ms. Proctor of Chicago, Trujillo of Denver and Ritter are three of four people singled out by Reagan during his nationally broadcast State of the Union address Wednesday night. The fourth was Dr. Charles Carson, 49, of Fergus Falls, Minn., president and founder of the Spinal Cord Society.
'Paralyzed in a plane crash, (Carson) still believes that nothing is impossible,' Reagan said. 'He works 80 hours a week without pay, helping pioneer the field of computer-controlled walking. He has given hope to 500,000 paralyzed Americans that someday they may walk again.'
Carson, 49, said Reagan probably singled him out because he voluntarily works for the society.
Reagan paid tribute to Trujillo, a medic who braved enemy fire to rescue wounded soldiers during October's invasion of Grenada. Trujillo sat with the first family in a gallery above the House chamber during the speech.
Asked on ABC's 'Good Morning America' today if he regards himself a hero, Trujillo said, 'No, no, no, not at all. There's countless acts of heroism in Grenada by many, many people. I'm just one example of many.'
'I was just doing my job like everybody else over there,' he said.
Ritter said most of the support for the Covenant House in New York and another in Houston comes 'not from government tax dollars,' but from thousands of volunteers who care about children.
Ritter is president of Covenant House, which patrols the streets to offer help, shelter, food and counseling to runaways, abused children, young drug users and youths exploited by pornographers and pimps.
He called Reagan's praise a 'great honor,' but told ABC, 'Most of the credit is for the work that my friends do ... and the close to 700 staff should really get the credit.'
Ritter also said the government is not doing enough for homeless and runaway teenagers. 'I think much more can and should be done,' he said.
Ms. Proctor, who Reagan said 'rose from a ghetto shack to build a multimillion dollar advertising agency,' acknowledged her own drive to excel contributed to her success but said the Proctor and Gardner Advertising Agency would not have gotten off the ground without government support and aid from the private sector.
The agency, founded in May 1970, is now a $12 million agency.
'We certainly were very poor,' she said of her childhood in North Carolina. 'We had no running water or electricity ... but no one did. What we lacked in creature comforts, we got in stamina.'
Ms. Proctor, on the CBS 'Morning News' today, said she was so surprised that when she was called for her reaction, 'I thought it was a practical joke ... and I hung up the phone on a bureau chief.'
She also said the government can do more for women and minorities.
Reagan 'went very far in giving us a spiritual boost,' she said, adding, 'Minorities still need a little extra help.'