In the Fall of 1975, there were several assassination attempts on President Ford. One of these was thwarted by Oliver "Bill" Sipple. He was a former marine and high school football star.
An article from the Random House series The American Century noted, "Sipple moved toward the front of the crowd to see his president. He saw him all right-as well as a gray-haired woman by his side, pulling a revolver out of her blue raincoat. Sipple grabbed her arm. Her shot missed the President by a few feet. Sipple wrestled her to the ground, and prevented her from getting off a second shot by shoving his hand into the firing mechanism."
Sipple was a hero. However, there was a problem. He had a secret. He did not want his family to learn he was gay and he shied away from publicity. Despite this, he was outed by a local paper. His father never spoke to him again.
According to Wikipedia, Sipple later said "My sexual orientation has nothing at all to do with saving the President's life, just as the color of my eyes or my race has nothing to do with what happened in front of the St. Francis Hotel."
Some claimed that Ford never publicly thanked Sipple for his role in saving his life. In 2001, Ford denied this in an interview with the Detroit News. He was quoted as saying, "I came out of the St. Francis Hotel and was about to get into the limo. The shot was fired (by Sara Jane Moore). The Secret Service got me to Air Force One quickly. I later learned ... Bill Sipple hit her hand and, as a consequence, the shot went above my head. ... I wrote him a note thanking him. ... As far as I was concerned, I had done the right thing and the matter was ended. I didn't learn until sometime later -- I can't remember when -- he was gay. I don't know where anyone got the crazy idea I was prejudiced and wanted to exclude gays."
Sipple did not fare well after saving Ford's life. After being outed, he spiraled into depression and became an alcoholic. He also became extremely obese. He was found dead in February 1989. Only 30 people attended his funeral. It was a sad end for someone who had truly performed a heroic act for the American nation.