Jerry Wood is the man at the scene of the fire at the church hide-out. He accompanies Pony in the ambulance after the fire. Jerry stays with Pony at the hospital until his brothers arrive. Although Ponyboy confides everything to him, Jerry continues to see Pony, Johnny, and Dally as heroes. He judges them on their actions and not on their appearances.
To be seen as a hero, and not as a hood, is a new experience for Pony. After considering Jerry's judgment call, based entirely on conduct, Ponyboy is able to see his brother, Darry, more clearly. At the hospital Darry is crying and Ponyboy realizes that Darry's eyes might sometimes look cold and hard, but his actions toward him are always motivated by love.