When we hear the word “hero” we usually think of adults who fought in battle or otherwise sacrificed their lives for their countries, or who achieved great things that average people like us wouldn’t dare attempt, assuming we even had the capacity. But anyone can be a hero, and that includes young, innocent children. These ten kids showed exemplary bravery, selflessness and heroism, and their courageous acts challenge us to change our understanding of what the word “hero” truly means.
10. Johaven Gonzales – Climbed a Mountain to Save His Family
In 2012, an accident in Globe, Arizona almost killed Johaven Gonzales and his family. They were driving along the highway when their car went off the road and fell off a mountain cliff. Johaven was with his grandmother, sister and pregnant mother, and while all of them survived they were in need of serious medical assistance.
Johaven called 911, but instead of waiting for the officers to come he decided to climb the steep mountain to seek out help. The officers admitted that had Johaven not climbed the mountain they would have never found his family, since their vehicle was “so far down the mountain.” Officer Michael Fink added, “I know most adults would not have been able to do what he did.” As a reward for his heroism, he was given a Tim Tebow jersey and a bike. Score?
9. Temar Boggs – Freed a Young Girl from Her Abductor
Temar Boggs made headlines when he rescued five-year old Jocelyn Rojas from her abductor. Temar was hanging out with his friends when he heard that a girl from their neighborhood had been kidnapped, and they immediately volunteered to search for the missing girl.
Temar spotted a suspicious vehicle, and when he looked in the passenger seat he saw Jocelyn. Temar and his friend, Chris, chased the car for more than ten minutes. The abductor got scared and decided to let Jocelyn go, who then ran towards Temar and said that “she needed her mommy.” When he was interviewed, Temar said, “It was just out of heart. It wasn’t to get attention or anything. It was just to help somebody in the community, help make sure another little life was okay and make sure her future could be possible.” Then he tipped his hat and disappeared into a sunset, presumably.
8. Anaiah Tucker – Saved Her Sister from an Oncoming Truck
In 2011, nine year old Anaiah Tucker almost died when she saved her five year old sister, Camry, from an oncoming truck. The truck came bearing down on the sisters as they were crossing the street on their way to their school bus. In an act of love and bravery, Anaiah pushed her younger sister out of the way and took a nasty hit for her effort.
Anaiah survived, but lost a leg and a kidney. When asked about her act she said, “[Camry] was too young to be hit like this, and if she got hit she wouldn’t hardly be alive. She would be probably gone forever… I love her so much.” Take a minute if you need it.
7. Timmy Miles – Saved His Siblings from a Burning Car
Timmy Miles was 12 years old when he saved his siblings from a burning car. In 2011, Timmy’s mom, Gaylynn Miles, took him and his siblings to an isolated area of Cibola County, New Mexico. She forced them to take huge amount of pills before taking the same medication herself. After a few minutes they were all unconcious, and Gaylynn was out of the running for any Mother of the Year awards.
Their car was still running, and after a few hours it caught fire. Timmy woke up before the fire spread throughout the vehicle, but his attempt to extinguish it was unsuccessful. Thinking quickly, Timmy pulled everyone out of the blaze. He and his siblings suffered first-degree burns and smoke inhalation, but they survived. Unfortunately, their mother died, although authorities suspected that Gaylynn was already dead before the car started burning.
6. Angelica Riggins – Saved His Dad from Their Burning House
In 2009, Angelica Riggins’s house caught on fire. Thanks to a Dalmatian named Sparkles, Angelica saved not only her life but his father’s as well. Angelica was six years old, and not long before the accident was present during a safety seminar held at her school. Sparkles demonstrated to the children what to do in case a fire started.
Fortunately, Angelica paid close attention and was able to apply what she had learned when her house caught on fire. During the night of the accident, Angelica got on the ground and crawled outside of her burning house just like Sparkles taught. She then went to a nearby house to ask for help. Her dad was still inside the burning house, but thanks to Angelica’s quick and calm thinking firefighters arrived and rescued her dad.
5. Tom Phillips – Drove a Tractor to Save His Dad from a Bull
Tom Phillips was 10 years old when he saved his dad from a raging bull. Tom and his dad, Andrew, were looking after their cattle when a bull suddenly attacked them. The animal charged at Andrew and tossed him into the air. Andrew was then mauled by the animal as he lay unconscious on the ground.
Tom knew that he needed to do something or his dad was going to die. He jumped into the family’s tractor and drove straight towards the bull. Tom was forbidden from using the tractor, but given the circumstances we doubt anyone was going to object. He succeeded in pushing away the bull and saving his dad’s life, and Andrew only spent two weeks in the hospital. Even though he was a hero, Tom’s primary concern after the accident was his mom finding out that he drove the tractor. He said, “Please don’t tell mum, she’ll tell me off for driving the tractor.” His mom’s response: “He’s my little hero and I can’t tell you how proud I am of him.”
4. Samantha Christian – Saved Her Family from Their Burning Mobile Home
In 2012, a girl named Samantha Christian from Apache Junction, Arizona, managed to save her family from a house fire by staying calm and collected. A portable air conditioning unit in Samantha’s room caught fire, but Samantha didn’t panic — she ran to her mother and siblings and woke them up. Samantha’s mom, Labecaa Christian, poured water on the fire while Samantha worked to save her brother’s lives.
First she dragged eight year old Brendon out of their burning home and into their neighbor’s house. She then went back to save her other brother, Mikey. Samantha tried to wake him up, but he just wouldn’t come to. So without hesitating she “picked him up and threw him” over her shoulder, taking him to safety. Her mother eventually got out alive as well. If not for Samantha’s courage and calm thinking she and her family might have perished, and Mikey would have never had had what we can only assume to be a serious sleeping disorder identified.
3. Alexis Goggins – Used Her Body as a Shield to Save Her Mom
Many of us have heard stories about parents who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their children. But how many of us have heard of children who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their parents? It’s rare, but that’s exactly what Alexis Goggins did in 2007. The seven year old used her body as a shield to save her mom’s life from a gunman, Calvin Tillie, who had been dating Selietha Parker for six months before he tried to break up with her with extreme prejudice.
Alexis, Selietha and Calvin were in a car when Calvin took out a gun and shot Selietha in the side of the head. Before he could fire again, Alexis “jumped over the seat” between Calvin and her mom, begging him to stop. He shot the girl six times anyway, but miraculously they both survived while Calvin was later apprehended by the police.
2. Tyler Doohan – Died While Trying to Save His Grandfather
Not all heroic kids make it out alive. Tyler Doohan died while trying to save his disabled grandfather from a burning mobile home in upstate New York. Tyler was only eight years old when he saved the lives of six people, including children aged four and six, but lost his life while trying to save his grandfather.
According to official reports, Tyler was the first one who noticed a fire in his grandfather’s mobile home. He woke up six of his family members, and once he knew that all six were safe Tyler went back to help his disabled grandfather get out of the blazing trailer. Sadly, they didn’t survive. When the fire was extinguished, the firefighters saw Tyler and his grandfather’s bodies together on a bed — Tyler was trying to lift his grandfather out of the burning mobile home.
1. Aitazaz Hassan Bangash – Died While Tackling a Suicide Bomber
Had it not been for 14 year old Aitazaz Hassan Bangash many children would have been killed in a terrorist attack in Pakistan. Aitazaz lost his life when he tackled a suicide bomber who was determined to kill students gathered for their morning assembly at their school.
According to Aitazaz’s cousin, a man dressed in a school uniform approached Aitazaz and asked him where their school was. Aitazaz became suspicious and challenged the man. When Aitazaz grabbed the bomber, he panicked and set off the bomb, killing them both and preventing the death of many more. His cousin described the act as “a great sacrifice to save the lives of hundreds of both Shia and Sunni students,” and Pakistanis across the country hailed his act of heroism on social media.