Local North Carolina law enforcement are singing the praises of three inmates who leaped into action and saved an ill man.

According to WECT, Roy William Smith, Rosendo Morales-Sanchez and Franklin Edens Jr. are Bladen County inmates in Elizabethtown, North Carolina. The trio was picking up trash alongside a highway Wednesday when their supervisor, James Smith, fell ill. 

Prior to Smith falling into a ditch, the men saw him stumble and slowly lose his balance. They immediately knew something was wrong. They rushed over to him and flagged down a passing car. At this point, the men could have fled but they stayed by Smith's side in his time in need.

Edens reportedly used Smith's phone to call 911and continued to wait until emergency responders arrived on scene. 

“If that was my father laying beside the road, I would want somebody to help him instead of running off,” Roy told WECT.

Smith was taken to the closest medical center, Duke University Hospital in Durham. WLTX 19 reports the man suffered a stroke and is still recovering in the intensive care unit as of this report. 

"Just being the guy that he was," Edens told WWAY. "He never did anything wrong to us or anything like that, treated us bad or anything. So we saw no other reason to try and do anything else crazy or outrageous so why not help him."

The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office recognized their heroics and asked locals to pray for Smith's recovery. 

"Those inmates stood by with Mr. Smith and stopped traffic to get help for him. We would like for our citizens to please keep Mr. Smith in your prayers for a speedy recovery," the department wrote in a Facebook post. "We would also like to thank the three inmates for standing by with Mr. Smith when their were so many other options they could have taken."

Additionally, the trio received a Life Saving Award that will be placed in their files to help them land on their feet after release.  

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