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Publix associate earns store's highest honor after heroics

Christian Diaz ran toward Plantation blast, started tending to wounded

Christian Diaz was working his normal shift at a Plantation Publix when an explosion in a nearby shopping center happened. He ran towards the blast and began to treat the wounded. He was recognized for his heroics Wednesday.

PLANTATION, Fla. – A Publix employee is being honored for his heroic actions following the Plantation explosion back in July.

Christian Garcia said he was working his shift at the Publix on South University Drive on July 6 when he heard a loud boom. When he stepped outside he said he saw people running and screaming. Garcia stepped into action running towards the chaos.

"All I heard was car alarms," Garcia said. "Everyone was across the street running and I ran towards it and the first person I saw was the gentleman there."

The gentleman he is talking about is 30-year-old Matthew Seese. Seese said he just finished working out and grabbed a smoothie and when he was walking to his car the unthinkable happened.

"A lot of lacerations in what we think was glass that hit me," Seese said. "It was almost like shrapnel." 

The gas explosion left Seese on the ground bleeding. When Garcia saw Seese he pulled off his belt to use as a tourniquet to stop the bleed.

"A cop later came and put a tourniquet on his arm," Garcia said. Seese said he has undergone surgery and is still doing rehab to get back to 100 percent.

As for Christian Garcia, Wednesday morning he was awarded one of the highest awards a Publix Associate can earn -- the George Jenkins Gold Coin Award. Garcia said he has just one test to pass before going on to his career goals of being a firefighter or paramedic.