David Bruce: Child Heroes

• On 10 October 2009 in Western Australia, Justin Bowron and his eight-year-son, Michael, were involved in a truck accident that left them injured and bloody after a tire blew out. Mr. Bowron said, “It blew on the left-hand side of the truck, and the right-hand side swung around. The truck was heading straight into a bush, and I tried to correct the steering wheel. When I did that, it tipped over. The last thing I remember was the driver’s side hitting the ground.” When he regained consciousness, he saw that he was in a bad way: He was trapped inside the truck because his leg was pinned between the dashboard and the steering wheel. He said, “Diesel was leaking from the truck, and the engine was still running. I was worried it was going to burst into flames. I couldn’t find my mobile phone, and the two-way radio had been thrown out of the truck.” Michael had been in the sleeper cabin. He tried to use a tire lever to free his father’s leg, but he could not. Then he searched for the radio. His father said about the radio, “It was pretty bunged up. It couldn’t work because it wasn’t connected to the truck anymore. I told Michael he could get it going with the spare battery.” The spare battery had also been thrown out of the truck. Michael said, “I found the battery on the side of the road and dragged it over to my dad. He told me to strip the wires from the radio and put them on the red and blue parts of the battery,” Michael did that, and he was able to call for help. He said, “I was scared, but I was trying to be brave. My dad had heaps of blood on his face and heaps on his leg. I had heaps on my leg, too, but not as much as my dad.”Michael’s mother, Christine, arrived first, after calling family members and neighbors to go to the crash site. She said, “I was the first to arrive on the scene. I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as it was. At the time I was just thinking, ‘How can I help?’ It wasn’t until later that I thought about how I could have lost them both forever.” If Michael had been unable to call for help, his father could have lain there until nightfall. Local volunteer ambulance co-ordinator Peter Geraghty said, “There’s basically no traffic on that road. The trouble with farmers, too, is that they often don’t come home until late at night so they don’t get missed until 10 or 11 o’clock.” He said about Michael, “What he did was very impressive. We say he’s too old for his age. But a lot of country kids are like that. They know how to fend for themselves because often there is no one around to fend for them.” St. John Ambulance spokeswoman Bianca McGougan said about Michael, “He is an outstanding young West Australian whose quick-thinking actions and ability to stay calm in a highly stressful situation helped save his father’s life.”

• In November 2007, in Fife, Scotland, a nine-year-old boy came to the aid of his mother when a drunken intruder tried to murder her by stabbing her. The boy’s father, Mark Thomson, said, “If Nathan hadn’t come running, my wife would have been killed.”Nathan’s mother, Ena Thomson,said that the attacker “burst into the bedroom. I put Nathan out in the hall and the next thing I know is I’m being stabbed. Then Nathan stepped in. It was unbelievable.” Nathan said, “He had a big knife and threw her on the floor, then leaned over her, holding her with one hand and stabbing her eight or nine times. My [12-year-old] sister Shannon had come out of her room, and we were shouting at him to stop. When I saw his arm go right up in the air, I knew he was going to kill her and I jumped on his back and pulled him off balance.” This gave everybody time to escape. Shannon jumped to safety from her bedroom door, and Nathan and his mother ran down the stairs and out the back door to a neighbor’s home. The attacker did break Nathan’s jaw and slash his face with a knife, leaving a permanent, honorable scar. Nathan’s father said that Nathan remained a “happy-go-lucky boy. He doesn’t have a care in the world. I think he’s actually enjoying the attention. He saw himself on the TV and started running about the house shouting, ‘I’m on the telly.’” Nathan’s mother, Ena Thomson,said she was proud of both of her children: “They did really well, I couldn’t have done what they did.”

• In January 2008 in Wills Point, Texas, a fire broke out in a mobile home. Inside, a 5-year-old boy named Cody McNeese made sure that his 3-year-old brother, Dustin, got safely away from the fire. Kathy McDonald, their aunt, said, “Big brother is always watching after little brother.” Cody said, “The heater was on fire, and it went up to the ceiling, and then the ceiling caught on fire. I was trying to wake up my brother and get the door opened, and I got burned.” His back, face, and especially his palms were burned, and both boys inhaled smoke, but otherwise they were fine. Brian Saltor, a Hunt County paramedic, said that Cody is a “trouper” and added, “He’s very tough. He told me the fire woke him, so he went out of his room hollering for his mother, but she was on the other end of the house. He went back into his room and woke his brother up and made sure he got out. They found their mother in the hallway, and she guided them out. The mom said when she looked back, the children’s room was in flames.” Ms. McDonald said about the boys, “They are very close. They do their little bickering like brothers do sometimes, but they are tight.” Mr. Saltor said that on the way to the hospital, “To maintain his airway, we were singing his ABCs and ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ I told him he was a hero.”

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


John Ford’s The Broken Heart: A Retelling, by David Bruce


William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: A Retelling in Prose, by David Bruce


Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist: A Retelling, by David Bruce


David Bruce’s Smashwords Bookstore: Retellings of Classic Literature, Anecdote Collections, Discussion Guides for Teachers of Literature, Collections of Good Deed Accounts, etc. Some eBooks are free.

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