A five-year-old girl was rescued on Portmarnock beach in Ireland July 22, after being swept out to sea with a floaty. Her Virginian rescuers were Walter Butler, 21, twin brothers Eoghan and Declan Butler, 18, and their brother-in-law Alex Thomson, 24.
The young men had recently started to enjoy the water when they heard someone calling for a lifeguard.
They saw a girl on a “pink flamingo floaty screaming for help,” as reported by Independent.ie. The current was pulling her away from the shoreline.
Walter is a health services technician for the United States Coast Guard. He decided to remain on the beach while the rest of them tried to reach the child.
“As we swam out, I realized that if this girl needed to be revived or needed any medical attention, I had to be in my best shape to provide first aid,” Walter said.
Portmarnock beach in Dublin, Ireland. Photo from the Creative X Digital Ireland Agency Facebook page. Credit to Tauseef Sarwar.
“You could see the brave little girl fighting for her life. She was doing everything she could to stay alive. Luckily, she gave it her all and Eoghan had enough time to grab her.”
Presently, Declan and Alex also reached the girl and assisted Eoghan in bringing her back to the shore.
“There’s not enough words out there to describe the exact moment,” Eoghan said, “but when I saw her in the vastness of the sea struggling to keep her head above water, all I could do was to reassure her that people were out there for her and to ask for her to keep strong.”
The ordeal took its toll on the girl.
“When we finally got there, she was a nervous wreck. Luckily, I was able to take her mind off of the matter by talking to her, asking her when her birthday was, what her favorite color was and other things.”
As the stress of the event increased, Alex thought of the baby girl he and his partner are expecting in October.
“The main thing I was thinking about was we couldn’t lose that little girl. I’m expecting a daughter in October and was empathizing with the father’s fear. I just couldn’t imagine the pain he and the family would have felt had she gone under.”
Declan said he was “grateful” that the group decided to go to the beach that day and were in a position to “help that unfortunate girl out.”
“I’m so glad that she has the chance to see life now, and hope she can truly enjoy it,” he said.
The girl was taken to a children’s hospital and her condition has been described as non-life-threatening.
The girl’s father, who did not give his name, told The Irish Mirror: “Only for them, my daughter wouldn’t be here today.” He said that he was screaming for assistance “helplessly” as the situation unfolded.
“They were so brave. They should get an award,” he said.
“My daughter was taken to hospital, but she is safe and well at home now. I’d really like to thank those men.”
Read the Irish News story here.
Note: The young girl has been reported to be both 5 and 6 years old. Her age is thereabouts.
From left to right: Eoghan Butler, Alex Thomson, Walter Butler, and Declan Butler. Photo from The Irish Times.
Army Pfc. Glendon Oakley was shopping for a jersey Aug. 3 at a store in El Paso, Texas, when a child entered and said there was a shooter at the Walmart close by.
Oakley told CNN no one in the store, including him, paid attention because they didn’t understand what the child was talking about. Oakley said he then walked to another store.
Then the trouble started.
“I just heard two gunshots and a whole bunch of people started running around and screaming,” Oakley said.
As disorder reigned during the next five to seven minutes, the armed Oakley was going to go with others who ran out of the store toward the gunshots.
“But I see a whole bunch of kids running around without their parents. Only thing I think of is pick up as many kids I can as possible,” Oakley said.
He and a different man started gathering children together. There were about 13, Oakley said, but he could only hold three.
“I was just focused on the kids, I wasn’t really worried about myself. So just put my head down and just ran as fast as I could,” he said. “They were anxious, when they were in my arms, they were trying to jump out of my arms but trying to keep them as tight as possible. They are kids, so they don’t understand what is going on.”
When he saw the police, he said he let the kids go and took out his phone “in case they were going to shoot me and started recorded while I was running.”
Oakley said he wasn’t concerned with his safety, rather getting the children out of harm’s way.
“I was just thinking about if I had a child and I wasn’t around, how I would want another man to react if they saw my child running around,” Oakley said.
Oakley told CNN affiliate KFOX that he did what he was supposed to do, and he doesn’t want the limelight on him.
“I understand it was heroic, and I’m looked at as a hero for it, but that wasn’t the reason for me …,” he said as he broke down in tears Aug. 4. “I’m just focused on the kids I could not get and the families that were lost. It hurts me, like, they were part of me. I don’t even know the people that died or the kids that I took with me … I want to reach out to the families that were lost and the families that lost their children because the focus should not be on me.”
CNN tried to contact the soldier on Aug. 4.
Oakley said the media’s focus should be on the world and the shooting in Ohio.
“The spotlight should not be on me right now,” he said. “I need the media to go out to the families and make sure they’re OK … I understand what I did was heroic, but I did that because that’s what I was trained to do and that’s what the military has taught me to do.”
The El Paso shooting left 20 people dead and 26 wounded, according to CNN.
Read about Oakley here.
Derrick Byrd from Aberdeen, Washington, is dealing with the pain of serious burns because he rushed back into a burning building to rescue his niece. Byrd said from his hospital bed that he’d do it again, as reported by KOMO News.
Byrd, who is 20 years old, has 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his face, back and arms. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after his house caught fire on July 4th.
“Even though I got burnt,” said Byrd. “I really didn’t care, though. I’d rather get burnt than her. She’s young. She’s still got a lot of stuff going for her. She’s a good kid.”
Byrd’s niece Mercedes and nephews Junior and Rory are very important to him. This explains why he was so adamant to protect them. He assisted the kids’ mother, Kayla, his sister, in transporting the kids out of the second-floor window.
“Kayla wanted to get the kids out so I ran downstairs even though I got burnt,” he said. “Started catching the kids. I caught Junior and I caught Baby Rory out of Kayla’s window.”
However, Mercedes, who is 8-years-old, was scared to jump. When her mom left the roof, Mercedes fell back into the room that was on fire. “She was screaming my name,” said Byrd. “So I wasn’t just going to let her sit there. I wasn’t going to let my niece die.”
“And I just ran up the stairs and pushed through the fire,” he said. “I could feel it burning me. I got her and took my shirt off and put it around her face so she wouldn’t breathe in any smoke and I just carried her out as fast as I could.”
Mercedes and her younger brother Junior were flown to Harborview just like Derrick.
He is being praised as a hero.
“I can’t say a hero,” said Byrd. “I’d just say for my niece and nephews, I wasn’t going to let them die.”
The family’s house looked to be unsalvageable. The firefighters and police were thankful that nobody lost their life.
“I’d do it again,” Byrd said. “I really would. I don’t care. I really would. I’d run back in there and do it again even if I got burnt worse or died.”
According to the fire investigators the cause of the fire is still unknown, but apparently it started on the inside on the second floor.
A food, clothing and toy drive was started for the family by friends and neighbors.
Read the KOMO News story and watch an interview with Byrd here.
A 17-year-old Algerian citizen, Feuzi Zabaat, is being pronounced a hero. Footage has gone viral that shows him catching a young girl when she fell from the second-floor window of a Turkish building.
Zabaat was walking on a street in the Fatih district of Istanbul last week. That is when he noticed a little girl playing near an open window, as reported by the Saudi Gazette.
The CCTV videotape shows Zabaat in a yellow shirt looking up as he stood in the street, aware that the girl’s safety was in jeopardy. He stretched out his hands, anticipating her fall, and astonishingly catches the toddler, who was identified as a 2-year-old Syrian girl, Doha Muhammed.
“I was just walking in the road when I saw the little girl at the window,” Zabaat said. “She fell, and thanks to God, I caught her before she hit the ground,” he told AFP in an interview, as reported by Fox News.
The little girl tripped and fell out of the window when her mother was cooking. She was not injured. Her family was thankful for Zabaat’s amazing catch, and gave him 200 Liras or $35 USD, as reported by USA Today.
Watch the viral video and read the story here.
Dan Simoneau uses multiple activities to increase the fitness of his Nordic skiers during the summer and fall.
Simoneau, the Nordic director for the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, said that running uphill is the purest measure of fitness.
One of his athletes, 16-year-old Jeffrey Bert, is taking things to a higher level. Later this summer, Bert, who is a Summit High junior-to-be, will go to Italy to participate in the Youth Skyrunning World Championships.
Skyrunning is defined by the International Skyrunning Federation as mountain running at an elevation higher than 2,000 meters (about 6,562 feet) with an incline of more than 30%. It was founded in 1992 by a collection of mountaineers in the Italian Alps. Currently, according to the ISF it has more than 50,000 racers across 65 countries.
Bert became interested in this type of trail running when he was running during the previous couple of summers. He had been trying to stay in shape for the Nordic ski season.
“Every camp we do, we do an uphill run as a test,” Simoneau said of his Nordic teams. “And Jeffrey’s been helping me to find the hardest climbs. Going uphill is just a pure measure of fitness. What’s your aerobic capacity? Jeffrey and I will sit there with a map, ‘OK, where do we have big hills and where are the trails?’ He knows them all. He’s run them all.”
Bert has been a part of the MBSEF Nordic team for five years, and he has participated in the Junior Olympics in cross-country skiing the past two winters. He began going out on extended training runs that were 13 to 15 miles long during the summertime. He also attended the Max King Trail Running Camp the past two summers. The camps were held near Mount Hood in 2017 and near Lake Tahoe, California, in 2018. They were organized by King, the renowned pro runner from Bend.
“That was an amazing opportunity that I got to be a part of,” Bert said. “I just had an incredible experience. It was a really enjoyable camp to just start my interest in trail running.”
Bert has completed three ultramarathons – Races that are longer than the normal distance of 26.2 miles. Recently, he placed 16th out of 171 finishers in the 13.3-mile Mt. Ashland Hill Climb in Southern Oregon. He was 16th out of 311 finishers in the Smith Rock Ascent 15-mile run on May 19.
Though he was a cross country athlete as a freshman at Summit, Bert said he did not continue as a sophomore because he wanted to focus on longer-distance trail running.
He applied to participate in the Youth Skyrunning World Championships. Competitors must pay their own way. He added to his application the outcomes of his various races in addition to a few essays and a recommendation from King.
The site of the world championships is situated in the Apennine Mountains, L’Aquila, just a 90-minute drive from Rome. Bert would participate in two races at the world event. The first one, on Aug. 2, is a vertical kilometer that contains 1,000 meters of elevation gain that spans less than 5 kilometers. The second race, to be held on Aug. 4, is a 15-kilometer race through comparable terrain. The trails in this event are extremely technical.
Bert said he found out about skyrunning through a friend of a friend on his Nordic team.
“And then just looking it up online, I realized it took my strengths and it was something that I could go with,” he says. “It’ll be some brutal competition, but I’m really excited for it because it’s what I’ve been training for.”
Bert said he has spent a lot of time training at Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, where typically he can find lots of elevation gain without any snow. As the summer progresses and the snow melts in the Central Oregon Cascades, he plans for additional training runs up South Sister, Mount Bachelor and Tumalo Mountain.
Bert’s father is a commercial pilot. Jeffrey, his parents, and his sister Heidi, who is 14, have enjoyed hiking and backpacking trips in various places worldwide. While on those trips, Bert has gone on long trail runs in countries such as France, Switzerland, Chile, New Zealand and Tasmania.
“It’s amazing for training, and you see such a variety of trails,” Bert said of traveling.
Bert’s family intends to make the trip to Italy to watch him race and then to travel around Europe after the races.
“We just love traveling and love seeing the world,” Bert said.
Bert’s long-term career goal is to go into sports medicine. He said he hopes to attend college in a mountain town where he can continue to pursue Nordic skiing, and of course, trail running.
“He’s just an aspirational kid when it comes to doing stuff,” Simoneau said. “He just wants to be better at whatever he does. It’s pretty cool. Whatever he chooses to do, he’s going to be really good at.”
Read the full story here.