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Young Heroes

Young Heroes
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle
Young Heroes
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle

The coach met me at the front office of the high school and ushered me to the football training wing. He opened the door, and I saw five young black men sitting quietly at a table. All five students — Treyvon Adams, Antwion Carey, Tyson Brown, Alto Moore, and Cesar Parker — are seventeen and members of the Rome High School football team.

I introduced myself and sat at the table in front of them. I took out a notebook and a pen, and cleared my throat.

“So, tell me what happened last August — when you guys were on your way to school,” I said.

The boys looked at each other — each waiting to see who would speak first. I turned and looked at the young man just on my right. I would later learn his name was Treyvon Adams. He began to recall the events of the day in question.

He told me that it was a warm, humid Friday morning in August, and streets and highways around Rome, Georgia, bustled with traffic as people rushed to get to work and school on time.

“I was driving Antwion, Tyson, and Alto to school, and I slowed down at the intersection out there,” Treyvon said, pointing in the direction of a busy intersection in front of Rome High School. As the young football players waited at the light to turn into the school parking lot, a car pulled in front of a small silver sedan, causing it to collide with a vehicle on the other side of the divided highway.

Bam! And then everything fell silent for a few moments. “I don’t remember thinking about it or saying anything,” Treyvon said. “All of us just jumped out of the car and started running in that direction.”

“We could hear the woman screaming in pain,” Alto added. “And we could see that her face was bloody.”

Cesar and his mother were in the vehicle behind the young men and had also witnessed the crash. Cesar leapt into action alongside the others and rushed to the vehicle to help. Smoke billowed from the engine and fluid spilled onto the pavement. The car was crushed in such a way that the doors were jammed, and the woman was trapped. Perhaps it was a surge of adrenaline — some form of instantaneous super human strength — or perhaps it was the many hours of weight training the football players had endured, but they worked together and forced the doors open. They comforted the 50-year-old injured woman and pulled her from the wreckage.

Then, Cesar and Treyvon shifted their attention to the other vehicle involved in the accident.

“They were an elderly couple, and the airbag had deployed and had hurt the woman, but they both seemed okay,” Cesar remembered.

Paramedics arrived about six minutes after the collision and began treating the driver of the silver car. As for the five young heroes, they moved out of the way and let the professionals do their jobs. Then they turned, calmly got back into their vehicles, and continued their journey to school, as if nothing extraordinary had happened.

“What?” I asked. “You just got in the car and drove to school? After saving those people?”

“We didn’t want to be late for school that day,” Treyvon told me.

Within hours, accounts of the young men’s valor spread like a wildfire throughout the school, Northwest Georgia, the state and the nation. All the attention and praise surprised the brave teens.

“It all happened so fast, and we just trusted our gut and did what was right. That’s all,” Antwion said. “It’s the way we were raised.”

“We hope our story inspires others,” Tyson added. “If someone needs help, act, get involved and just do the right thing!”

In the face of danger, emergencies and crises, some people turn away and choose to be bystanders, while others choose to respond. In a world full of bad news, these young heroes — five young men who didn’t hesitate, and after helping strangers, didn’t hang around to get pats on their backs — fill me with hope. So today, I celebrate them, and I hope if I’m ever placed in a similar situation, I hope I act as quickly, courageously and humbly as they did.

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