(National Sentinel) America’s Heartland: A Minnesota farmer who found a 15-year-old girl abducted by three men was given a $7,000 reward for his selfless act.

Then he turned around and handed it to the young lady, Fox News affiliate Fox 9 reports.

Earl Melchert, 65, of Barrett, turned the reward money over to the girl Friday at police headquarters. She had been abducted, then physically and sexually abused for a month, reports noted.

“Today we witnessed an incredible example of kindness,” Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels said on Facebook.

The girl, who was not named in the report because she is a minor, was taken Aug. 8 in Alexandria, Minn., then taken to an abandoned house, where the acts of abuse allegedly occurred.

Fox 9 Minneapolis reported that the girl escaped Sept. 5 by swimming across a lake. Melchert found her when she came running toward him.

The family had posted the reward; the money was put up by an anonymous donor.

“What no one expected was the kindness and generosity that came straight from Earl’s heart today,” Wylie said on Facebook. “He believes that young lady that came running towards him that September day is the real hero, and without hesitation, Earl handed the reward over to her, followed by a big hug.”

“Thank you Earl, it is people like you that make this world a better place,” the chief said.

Melchert told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that he was in the right place at the right time.

“I did what I had to do,” he said.

The teen’s mother said she had been waiting to meet Melchert.

“He’s really a hero for us,” the woman said, according to the paper. “We wanted to thank him. … He didn’t have to help her and he did. He risked a lot of things and put himself in danger.”

As is often the case, one of the three suspects includes a friend of the girl’s family who lured her from her home.

All three have been charged with kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, assault and false imprisonment.

Here’s hoping these animals get all that’s coming to him. As for Mr. Melchert, there aren’t enough good things to say about him.

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