A 5-year-old boy is being hailed as a hero for saving the life of his 2-year-old little brother.
In October of 2016, Glenn Church, his wife, and his two young stepsons were moving from Michigan to Texas.
They decided to travel by convoy, with the boys’ mom driving the family car in the lead. Church followed in a moving van packed with the family’s belongings. The young kids opted to ride with Church. It was an exciting adventure, after all, to ride in a moving van packed full of familiar objects.
The family was excited about their new start, but it wouldn’t be the one they had envisioned.
As Church piloted the moving van, Isiah, 5, watched the traffic go by.
His little brother, Jeremiah, 2, was asleep. But then something went terribly wrong.
The moving van crashed and immediately burst into flames. Church flew through the windshield. He didn’t survive the accident.
Isiah, however, made it out of the wreck physically unscathed. Despite the trauma and the growing flames licking his thin arms, Isiah realized that something was wrong. His little brother wasn’t with him as he escaped the flames. In fact, the toddler was trapped beneath the wreckage.
Ignoring the danger, Isiah turned back to the heap of blackened metal. He charged into the flames and found Jeremiah on the ground. Then the little hero pulled his brother out from under the van, saving his life on pure instinct.
Sirens soon split the air and paramedics began loading Jeremiah’s tiny body into an ambulance. The toddler ended up in the hospital with second- and third-degree burns all over his face, chest, and arms. He would eventually be moved to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Texas, where specialists repaired the damage with a complex skin-grafting operation.
Meanwhile, the boys’ mother buckled under the horror of losing her husband and very nearly her children, too. She suffered severe emotional trauma and was hospitalized for mental health treatment.
That leaves Isiah. How is the boy hero coping with an event that would change his life—and his family—forever?
According to Isiah’s grandmother, Sandi Watkins, this “amazing little man” is recovering wonderfully from that day of terror.
“Isiah is doing absolutely amazing,” Watkins told People magazine. “He’s talking to a psychologist and we don’t bring up the accident.”
Isiah’s heroic actions haven’t gone unnoticed, however. The Houston Police Department held a special ceremony to honor the boy hero.
“This was a tragic event and, as a mother myself, as a parent, I was touched by what this child did,” said Martha Montalvo, acting chief of the Houston Police Department. “He didn’t think of himself, but thought of his brother.”
The police gave Isiah a public service award for his valor and quick thinking. Even better for this police-loving 5-year-old, they gave him a silver police badge. They rounded out their gifts of honor with a backpack full of toys.
Isiah went to stay with his grandma for the time being.
Meanwhile, Jeremiah, Isiah, and their mother are getting better every day.
“It’s amazing that these two children made it out alive, truly a miracle,” Watkins said. “Jeremiah is doing phenomenally. He looks better every single day.”
So Jeremiah continues to heal quickly; that’s good news. And the boys’ mom was finally released from the hospital. Best of all, Isiah got to reunite with the little brother for whom he risked so much.
“We didn’t think he would be able to handle seeing Jeremiah up close with all the burns, so we had him stand 30 feet away and say hello,” Watkins said. “That night he said, ‘Nana, I can’t believe baby Jeremiah is alive! I want to give him a great big kiss and hug!’”
It won’t be long before Isiah will be able to do just that. These brothers will grow up looking after one another. They’ve got a good start, that’s for sure.
“He’s always watching out for his little brother,” Watkins said of Isiah. “He loves his brother so much.”
But it took more than love to compel this 5-year-old to save his brother’s life. It also took courage. So who knows? Maybe Isiah will turn his talent for saving lives into a career path one day.
“As police officers, we’re trained what to do, but Isiah already knew,” Montalvo said. “I told him to come back in a few more years. We need police officers like him.”