Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Being brave during danger is not easy

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 18, 2013 at 5:18 a.m.

Our society is full of everyday heroes. Law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and others put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our community. But every now and then, someone is thrust into a horrible situation and proves himself or herself to be a hero through his or her deeds.

That was the case for 11-year-old Leo "Willy" Click Jr., who was honored last week for his actions after a wreck three months ago on state Highway 35. Leo and his family were returning from a fishing trip to Port Aransas when the family's truck was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle. The Click family was trapped in their truck, which caught fire during the accident, and Leo was the only one who was conscious. Leo used his shirt to bind a wound on his sister's head and then crawled out of the truck to flag down help from passing vehicles. A woman and her daughter helped the boy pull his family from the vehicle. Leo did all this in spite of the cuts all over his body and a third-degree burn across his body from the seatbelt.

For his brave actions that saved the lives of his sister, cousin, father and his father's girlfriend, Leo was awarded the Medal of Heroism from the American Legion Post 166. We applaud Leo for his quick thinking and heroic actions in the midst of a frightening situation. At the young age of 11, Leo has proven he is capable of handling himself under pressure and reacting in the midst of danger.

What most impressed us through this entire story was Leo's brother-in-law Brandon Griffith's words at the award ceremony about how the boy feels. " ... He feels that he did what anyone else would have done." That is the attitude of a true hero. Even though it would have been easy to crawl away and nurse his own injuries while waiting for someone else to come to the rescue, Leo chose to act and find help for others. That decision is what makes him a hero.

The worst part about being a hero is the story of how it happened. When he was awarded the medal, Leo was trembling. When the accident was recounted, he ran to his stepfather for refuge. His mother says he still has nightmares about the accident. For all the applause, being the person who took action in the midst of a disaster is difficult and often traumatizing. We know this will be a difficult recovery for Leo, and we wish him the best as he learns to deal with his experiences. The nightmares will not last forever, and he has a loving family who will support him as he continues to recover both mentally and emotionally from the trauma of that day.

Thank you for your bravery, Leo. We wish you the best in the days ahead.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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