Everyday heroes - 4 more inspiring true stories of bravery


 1.           Sacrificing his life to save a stranger's

 Robert Cook, a 22-year-old skydiving instructor, was on a plane with 21-year-old Kimberley Dear. She was about to make her first ever skydive, and he was her instructor.

 But soon after the plane had taken off, the engine failed. The airplane started plummeting towards the ground at a rapid speed.   

 Robert calmly told Kimberley to sit on his lap. He then hooked her harness up to his and embraced her to take the brunt of the impact onto himself. He stayed incredibly calm and composed and told Kimberley exactly what she needed to do and kept her calm as well. He then turned his body so that he was underneath her. When the plane hit the ground, his body softened the blow for her.

 Robert died after hitting the ground. But thanks to his heroic actions, Kimberley survived. He had given up his own life to save someone who was a complete stranger to him.

 Robert's father says selflessness was in his son's nature. He would've sacrificed anything for anybody, because that was just the way he was. A true hero.

2.                Fighting a cougar

Colton Reeb, a 12-year-old boy was staying in a cabin in Australia, on a camping trip with his family. He was on his way to an outhouse, when a big male cougar suddenly jumped on him from behind. The cougar locked his front paws around the boy's neck and bit Colton's head.

Marc Patterson heard Colton's screams and ran outside. Seeing what was happening, he immediately rushed to help the boy. He tried to get the cougar off the boy by kicking it in the head with his foot 5 times, but the huge wild animal didn't even flinch.

Marc jumped onto the animal, wrapping one of his knees and both of his hands around it's neck, and squeezed as hard as he could. This time, he managed to pull the cougar off Colton. The animal freed himself from Marc's grasp, turned around, took a threatening position and growled at him. But Marc didn't back down, and growled back, intimidating the animal, who then started backing off. Marc kept screaming and flinging his arms at the cougar to make sure it was too scared to come back, while Colton ran away.

Colton recovered fine from his injuries. Life is now back to normal for him, thanks to Marc's bravery, who risked his life to save Colton's.

3.               Risking his life for a stranger

For Dave Hartsock, a 44-year-old skydiving instructor, going skydiving had been standard routine for years. For Shirley Dygert, a 54-year-old woman, it was her first time to go. She decided to go on the adventure to celebrate her 54th birthday. She was afraid, but also very excited to be doing something so adventurous and out of the ordinary.

 Dave was her instructor. They did what is referred to as a tandem jump - they jumped together, Shirley attached to Dave, who was hovering above her and would open the parachute.

 At first, everything went according to plan. Shirley was enjoying herself and the remarkable view. But when it came time for Dave to open the parachute, it opened only partially. Disasterously, the backup parachute got tangled with the first one. They were now freefalling through the air. Shirley was terrified, praying to god she wouldn't have to die this way.

 And Dave was determined to do everything in his power to make sure that she wouldn't. Courageously, he repositioned himself so that he was falling below Shirley, hoping his body would be enough to soften the blow for her.

 They hit the ground, with Dave's back taking most of the impact.

 When they hit the ground, he, though in extreme pain, managed to selflessly ask her if she was OK. After she replied, he passed out.

 Dave's spine was completely shattered by the fall. Shirley had broken some vertebrae in her neck. While Shirley recovered fully from her injuries, Dave was completely paralysed from the neck down.

 Dave remains brave and optimistic even in the face of paralysis, and some of the feeling in his body has already returned. When Shirley visited him in the hospital, he was joking around, and cheering her up as well. He has even suggested they go skydiving again. The two now have a close relationship. Shirley says she'll never forget what he did for her.

 He put his own life at risk to save a stranger's. But Dave doesn't think of himself as a hero. He reckons he wouldn't have been able to live with himself, had he done anything else.

4.           Going through fire to save a woman from dying

 Jodi Oakes was driving to see a friend after work, when she, tired and sleepy, blacked out behind the wheel. With her foot still pressed on the gas, her car drove full speed into a tree, and caught fire.
 While driving home down the same road, Michael Gay noticed a curious sight on the side of the road. He noticed a big fire in an empty field. He saw a tree burning and got curious. He turned his car around and drove closer to the tree. Then he saw a car on fire.

 Michael heard screams, and realized there was a woman in the burning car. Inside the car, Jodi was panicking and was trying, but unable to unfasten her seatbelt. Michael ran up to the passenger door of the car, but it was stuck and wouldn't open. Then he ran to the driver-side door, but the flames were too big to get to her that way. So he ran back to the passenger side door and this time, squeezed himself through the window. The fire had burned Jodi's seatbelt. She reached out, and grabbed Michael's hands, and he was able to pull her out through the flames. Her arms and hair were on fire, setting fire to Michael's hands as well. He managed to put out the flames.

 An ambulance arrived and she was flown to a hospital. There, the severity of her condition became apparent - she had burns on 50% of her body, injuries to internal organs, bleeding of the brain and facial fractures. Her leg had to be amputated. Had Michael not been there to help, she would've died.

 Michael doesn't consider himself a hero, just lucky to be there and help at the right time.


H. Scott Dalton said...

I love stories like these. I find courage the most inspiring of human qualities--our capacity to give of ourselves, even when it's hard, even when the giving might kill us, seems almost limitless. It's one of the things that draws me to military history.

Great stories, beutifully told. Well done, Gemma!


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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Colton Reeb was attacked in Clinton BC. Australia does NOT have cougars.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Was just going to comment on the Colton story but I see it's been done. It's still an amazing story even when it's told correctly!

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Anonymous said...

hi, we are from australia, just wanted to let you know that we dont actually have any cougars in australia whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

That is correct. I am also Australian. Zero cougars here.

Anonymous said...

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