13-Year-Old “Air Mattress Boy” Saved 17 People During Hurricane Harvey

Virgil Smith is a 13-year old boy from Dickinson, Texas, located just south of Houston. Last month, as Hurricane Harvey dumped millions of gallons of water onto his neighborhood causing massive flooding, Virgil used an air mattress to become a hero.

Virgil’s family lives in a first-floor apartment. When the water began to rise, they fled to an apartment on the second floor of his building to wait out the storm.

But Virgil didn’t stay there. At 2:00 a.m., a friend in another building in the complex texted Virgil, begging for help because he and his family couldn’t swim.

Virgil didn’t hesitate. He ran downstairs to his own flooded apartment, grabbed an air mattress, and swam out into the darkness, wind, and rain to help his friend. When Virgil arrived, he loaded his friend’s family onto the air mattress and pushed it back to his building. He then went back out into the complex and rescued several more people, including an elderly woman in a wheelchair.

In an era where words like “courage” and “heroism” are so cheapened by constant hype and politicization, it is refreshing to see a brave young man like Virgil stand apart as a true example of an American Hero.

You can watch a video of an interview with Virgil, here.

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Trey Bennett

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