In The Outsiders, Jerry Wood is the man that is there when the church is on fire. He is with the boys when they are frantically trying to save the kids when they are trapped in the burning church. After the kids are all okay, he accompanies Johnny and Pony in the ambulance and stay with them at the hospital. He is basing his opinion of the boys on their actions and not their appearance. Although they are 'hoods' or 'greasers', he still sees them as heroes for what the did. He is the proof in society that no good deed goes unnoticed no matter who you are.
This also heps Pony in his personal convictions that he and his brothers can be better than being in a gang and living in the rough neighborhoods that he talks about in chapter 9. Jerry is Pony's reason to hope for better because there is someone on the outside willing to believe in him and see him for who he is as opposed to the 'hood' he looks like.