By Aaron Burgin
Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 6:13 p.m.
Carlos Partida, Eddie Dominguez, Steven Kane, Mario Contreras and Toby Wiest helped subdue Brendan Liam O’Rourke, who is accused of opening fire at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad in October, wounding two second-grade girls. The workers chased after him after he stopped to reload. Partida knocked him to the ground with a truck and helped hold him until police arrived.
Contreras suffered a broken hand when he punched O’Rourke.
Van Nuys-based Contractors State License Services, a private vocational school in San Marcos, is giving $1,000 scholarships to each man. The scholarships will pay for the workers to take one course, such as for contractor’s license examination preparation, blue print reading or contract estimating.
The school stepped in to offer the scholarships after learning about the heroics displayed by the workers, which garnered national attention. Days before the shooting, the school offered Victor Perez, a Fresno construction worker who rescued an 8-year-old girl who had been kidnapped, a similar scholarship.
“We were kind of on a hero thing,” Cyndi Beaver, the school’s marketing coordinator, said Thursday during a ceremony. “We just wanted to acknowledge our heroes in the construction industry.”
The timing of the scholarships couldn’t have been better, the men said. They are all currently unemployed. For most of them, the contract at Kelly Elementary, a renovation of the school’s kitchen, was their last job.
“We’re looking,” Partida said. “There’s just not much out there right now.”
The men say they have been overwhelmed by the adulation they have received.
“We still get the ‘you’re a hero’ response,” Kane said. “It’s been really nice.”