When I was eight years old, my world revolved around kickball and Star Wars™ figures. I don’t remember being exceptional brave or anything else at that age. I was just a little boy trying to get through the world.
Tyler Doohan showed how brave an eight year old boy can be. The trailer where he was staying with other family caught fire. Tyler woke up six family members and helped them get out. His uncle, described as one of his best friends, was disabled and still inside. Tyler ran back in to help his uncle, but sadly neither of them came out. Firefighters say they were found by a bed, and it appeared Tyler was trying to lift his uncle off the bed when he was overcome by smoke.
As I said before, I don’t remember being an especially brave child. Thinking back, I was pretty fearful of the world. My parents divorced when I was very young, and I remember feeling pretty alone, and was very passive towards the world. I was not very good at standing up for myself, let alone protecting or defending someone else.
I mention this only to underscore how amazing this young man is to me. I can’t help but think he must have received a lot of love and support from his family, and especially the uncle he died trying to save. What else but a great amount of love would make a mere eight year old risk his own life to save so many others?
In the midst of what many (including myself) would take as a horrible loss, there is something greater for us to consider. While it is very sad this amazing eight year old is now gone, six people are still here because of his ultimate sacrifice. This story is being reported all over the country, if not a lot of the world, and is probably inspiring many to live their life better and appreciate those they love more. At only eight years old, Tyler Doohan has done more good for the world than many of us will ever do. While tragic, this boy’s selfless act was most certainly not in vain.
The fire did not take place in Tyler’s own home, but at a relative’s that he did not live with. Rather, he was staying there with other family. How much worse would this incident have been had Tyler not been there to perform his heroic act?
Now, the town of Rochester, New York, and the rest of the state, has a new hero. Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer said the casualties would have been much worse had Tyler not reacted so quickly. As this story has spread, no doubt others have been moved and perhaps changed as well. Over a thousand people have donated to a fund to help with funeral expenses, and many have left wishes of hope and peace to the family.
For myself, I am moved and awed by what this child did. I will surely hold my own sons a little tighter now, and will also remind them of this child when they are down or discouraged. Tyler Doohan showed us, because of his great love, that even an eight year old can make all the difference in the world.