Not all heroes wear capes. One young boy typically acted shy and hated to stand out in the crowd, but when it came down to it he proved himself to be a real hero. No one will forget the courageous actions he took when disaster struck.
Virgil Smith is 13-years-old, and he lives in Dickinson, Texas. When Hurricane Harvey hit, he was shaken away like many other young girls and boys. But what he did next truly made him shine.
Virgil could hear the screams of his neighbors, friends, and family who had been taken off guard by the flood. Many of his friends did not know how to swim, and they feared for their lives as the water crept higher and higher. That’s when Virgil took action.
As the water level reached the top of the fence outside Virgil’s home, the boy thought quickly. He hopped on an air mattress and began gliding across the water.
The young boy quickly made his way over to his friends and family, pulling one person at a time up onto the mattress and then propelling them to safety. For every person that was rescued, it seemed another was in need of assistance. Virgil was guided by the sounds of his neighbors crying for help.
“You couldn’t see anything, you could hear screams,” explained Virgil’s mom, Lisa Smith. As she showed the cameraman where each location was, she painted a vivid picture of a terrifying scene. One child was stuck in his bedroom, another woman relied on a wheelchair – Virgil saved the lives of so many individuals.
“I can’t believe it myself,” admitted Lisa when recalling these acts of heroism. “I can’t believe it, but he did it.”
Virgil’s friends were inspired by his actions. In all, this boy had saved 17 lives with his air mattress transportation plan.
“He did something that not very many people can do,” said Gabriel, one of Virgil’s teammates. “He went out at 2:00 in the morning on an air mattress and saved 17 people.”
Perhaps the most heroic part of Virgil’s rescue is the humility that he showed afterward. During school the next day, the boy gave no indication of what he had done. If he hadn’t been featured on the local news, no one would have known.
Of course, when administrators of Hitchcock Middle School found out about the exploit, they knew they had to reward Virgil in a special way. In order to celebrate his accomplishment, they got the entire football team together.
The coach talked to the players about what this boy had done and how they could show their appreciation. They all agreed to give Virgil a standing ovation when he stepped onto the field.
As the teenager walked up, first one player clapped and then another. Soon the entire team was standing before the hero with their hands continually knocking together.
As more and more children clapped, the young boy looked shocked. He wasn’t the type to brag about what he had done, but he was grateful for the acknowledgment.
Vergil might be shy, but actions definitely speak louder than words. His brave actions in the face of an emergency prove that anyone can be a hero.