• Rachel Anne Baer

A Hero Dressed In Black

#familymemories #hero #proudmoment #heroforaday #siblings

Whilst watching the local news last night I saw an incredible video of a man rushing to catch a young boy as he fell from a top floor window from his burning home. This was an incredible act of bravery and reliance on his instincts. The young child was miraculously saved from hitting the ground where he would certainly have been injured or worse.

The newscaster goes on to tell of the hero’s background, he used to be a football player and was built for strength, perhaps it was his instincts from that time of his life that drove him to react so quickly and result in a life saved.

I hadn’t thought about this in many years, but this news report prompted a memory of an account my mother gave me when my youngest brother reacted in a similar way. He was around seventeen at the time and going through a punk phase. He dressed completely in black and had a partially shaved head, which meant that to the casual observer he would have looked threatening or up to no good at the very least.

My brother was on his way home from an evening out with friends possibly after a night at the bar, he happened to pass by an apartment building on fire. The fire brigade (fire department for any Americans reading this) had just been called but the building was on its way to becoming engulfed in flames.

My brother must have heard or seen a sign of life, according to a local newspaper report onlookers told of a youth dressed all in black running into the burning building and after a short time coming out supporting an old lady who had difficulty walking and was living on her own. They came out into the fresh night air in time for the woman to be handed over to the EMT’s who had by then arrived on the scene. The lady was taken to hospital and was treated for smoke inhalation but was apparently fine, being released shortly afterwards. Who knows if she would have survived without my brother’s intervention, I am certain however that she recovered faster because my brother didn’t hesitate and had the courage to enter a burning building without considering his own safety.

According to the report my mother gave, my brother just slipped away into the night and continued on his way home. I’m not sure if he even remembers this, I will be sure to ask him the next time we chat on the phone. I am certain none of my children know, they hadn’t been born at this point in time. For whatever reason I had totally forgotten about this heroic action in our family. My brother suffered from a sore throat and a cough for a couple of days and certainly should have stayed at the scene and been checked out at the hospital. However, for a young British guy dressed in black, possibly looking suspicious to everyone apart from close friends and family he most likely didn’t want to draw attention to himself. It’s also likely that he just wanted to remain anonymous, many people we consider “heroes” don’t see themselves in the same light.

I was then and still am incredibly proud of his actions. A long time ago, making a difference to a complete stranger, no recognition. He hasn’t changed, still incredibly generous with his time and money he would help anyone out in a moment. It’s also a good reminder to not judge people by their appearance, my brother is now a university professor and author, still sporting a shaved head and is an active member in his community, always ready to help anyone in need and take a stand for injustice in any form.

I hope that somewhere in my boxes of photos and newspaper clippings I can find the report my mum sent me, describing that night years ago, telling of the rescuer dressed in black, never seeking recognition, just disappearing into the night. It makes me proud to remember this especially with the current continual bad news and worldwide difficulties.

Do you have any heroic memories in your family? Please share, it’s always so inspiring to read these stories which should be recorded to pass on and inspire those that read them.

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