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Tuesday, May 4, 2010
LocalHeroic Times Square T-shirt vendor Lance Orton just 'an average guy'

Heroic Times Square T-shirt vendor Lance Orton just 'an average guy'

Monday, May 3rd 2010, 10:37 PM

Duane Jackson and proud daughter Tiffany in Times Square Monday just days after Vietnam vet and handbag seller helped alert cops to car bomb. Jackson also got a call from President Obama.
Schwartz for News
Duane Jackson and proud daughter Tiffany in Times Square Monday just days after Vietnam vet and handbag seller helped alert cops to car bomb. Jackson also got a call from President Obama.

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Saving the day is all in thefamily for Lance Orton, the T-shirt vendor credited with first telling cops about the bomb-packed SUV parked in the heart of Times Square.

His sister is a disaster response expert: Dr. Gina Orton 54, of Virginia, works as a psychiatrist with the Justice Department, counseling law enforcement officers traumatized by the unthinkable.

"My brother could have been killed," Gina Orton said, "and socould have thousands of people. ... It's a horrifying thought."

She's not surprised her brother acted the way he did. After all, he did such a good job looking out for her when they were kids, why shouldn't he now be looking out for all New York?

"He defended me from a lot of dangers and problems," she said. "He was a shield to me, a protector."

Growing up in Wakefield, the Bronx, he walked her home from school every day to protect her from bullies.

"He's always looking out for other people," she said.

Her brother has been inundated with calls from reporters.

"I'm overwhelmed," Lance Orton, 56, told the Daily News. "Do something good one day and you'll see."

The Vietnam veteran remains a reluctant hero. "I'm just an average guy," he insisted. "A glory hound seeks attention - that ain't me."

Still, his family is thrilled and his dad beamed after watching him on NBC's "Today" show. "My son's pretty handsome," chuckled Horace Orton, 81. "He was smiling with Matt Lauer!"

President Obama also reached out, calling handbag seller Duane Jackson, who cops say also alerted them of the danger.

"He thanked me for taking notice when not a lot of people would have," said Jackson, 58, also a Vietnam vet. "He said 'The nation is proud of you.'"

bpaddock@nydailynews.com

With Henrick Karoliszyn

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