A beloved great-grandpa was killed Monday in Missouri while attempting to rescue a dog from a busy highway. Richard Kurtz, 78, spotted what was either his or a friend's small whippet across the highway from his farm and immediately went out on the road to help, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. "He was an animal lover and you'd teach your children to never do that but you know, when that happened, he didn't think of himself, he thought of the dog," his sister tells the New York Daily News. "He picked the dog up in his arms to start walking across and as he got in the middle of the road, some car was coming up, and it plowed right into him."
Kurtz—a White House-recognized gardener who had been widowed for four years—died at the scene, along with the dog, Charlie, who was still cradled in his arms. "My papa was an amazing man," one of his granddaughters wrote on the local police department's Facebook page. "He would go after any dog that ran across that road, he would put his life in danger to save anybody." Kurtz's son-in-law adds that he was "a gentle man with a heart of gold." Kurtz leaves behind three children, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren; he missed out on meeting his third great-grandchild, a girl, by weeks.