I’ve always been proud of my husband, Shaun. He’s intelligent, funny, and has a kind heart. He goes out of his way to do special things for me. But, I haven’t been more proud of him than I have this past week. My husband has had not one, not two, but THREE heroic experiences, all in a week’s time.
To begin, Saturday my husband came home from the store. I was sitting on our couch when he walked through the door with his hand cupping his stomach, obviously hiding something in his sweatshirt. I contorted my face in confusion when he explained that he “found it on the side of the road.” In all honesty, my first thought was he went out and bought himself a hedgehog without asking me and his excuse was he “found it” in order to keep it. Anyways, being gentle, Shaun slowly unzipped his jacket and revealed a black and white fur ball. It was a kitten! A very tiny, very dirty kitten. I immediately jumped up and scooped him out of my husbands hands, questions flying out of my mouth faster than he could register them.
Apparently, Shaun noticed the kitten up against the retaining wall, literally on the freeway. He thought it was just a stuffed animal but something told him to double check and make sure. My husband made the loop back around and returned to the place where he saw the toy. He said that when he pulled over and got out the helpless kitten turned his head toward him, body shaking from the cold wind and passing cars.
We decided to give him a quick warm bath with baby shampoo. While I was bathing the kitty, my husband called multiple animal shelters but they were all closed. So, we decided that he would room with us until we found him a home (even though I’m highly allergic to cats).
With all the evidence that we put together, we concluded that the tiny cat was abandoned. Within a few days, we found him a forever home. Now, Freeway (an appropriate name) is living happily ever after with three other cats and a dog, with endless love, food, and comfort.
My husband’s next heroic act occured on Wednesday. I had just come home from work and was about to put my son down for a nap when there was a knock at the door. I opened it up and there was Shaun standing outside, the work truck behind him, completely soaking wet from the chest down. Confused again, I asked, “What happened?” It was only 2:30 in the afternoon, so he should still be at work for a few more hours. What kind of job was he doing?
He replied nonchalantly with, “I pulled a lady out of the river.”… WHAT?!
Shaun stepped into the house, brushing past me, “I need to change and go back to work.”
I followed him into our room demanding answers. He was, again, on the freeway for a work errand, when a lady in a car to his left lost control and veered across the road in front of him down into a field and through a fence, launching her car into a small river. Shaun hastily pulled the truck over, got out, sprinted through the mangled fence, through the field, and jumped in. Luckily, the lady was conscious and he was able to talk her through rolling down the window before the car sunk deep enough in the water to short-out the car’s battery.
He undid her seatbelt, dragged her out of the sinking car and up to the bank where others were showing up to help. He gave emergency crews his statement, came home, changed and went back to work as if it was just another day.
Then, to top it off, the next Saturday he did it again. We were heading to Scout camp for an event and while I was admiring the beauty of the canyon, Shaun suddenly pulled over into the trees. I thought he saw a deer and was trying to show our son. He pointed out that someone didn’t put out their campfire.
He gets out of the car, pulls out our emergency water bottles and walks down to the source. I get my son out and joined him. Though there were no actual flames, the white pieces of burnt wood and smoking rocks that sizzled when the water was poured on them signaled that it was freshly abandoned.
There wasn’t enough water in the two bottles to safely cool down the embers so we had to walk down to the mountain stream for refills. For an hour we kicked away flammable, dead leaves, churned the smoking ash, threw hot rocks into the running water, and dowsed the pit until it was mud.
My heart was bursting when Shaun showed our kid how to pour the water and use a stick to stir it around. He would repeat himself on how it’s bad to leave a fire. My son would just say “Fire!” and follow my husband back down to the stream.
It was in that moment that I truly appreciated the Scouting program. My husband is a proud Eagle Scout. He participated in many of the activities including Order of the Arrow. As I watched him out in the forest working to put out the hot wood not fifty yards away from Scout camp, I imagined him younger and in his Scout uniform. I could visualize my husband learning to serve others and how to do a good turn daily and what that meant.
Most people wouldn’t think twice about a stuffed animal on the road or be brave enough to jump into a river to save someone. They may shrug their shoulders at the smoke drifting through the trees thinking that it’s fine, it can’t cause a forest fire.
I know that because of the values and skills that the Scouting program taught my husband he was able to perform those heroic acts. Shaun had, and still has, the capability to serve and help others, which he learned through Scouting. I can’t express enough how proud I am to be married to such an example of doing good and making ethical choices, who then turns around to teach our son the same practices.
I encourage others to participate in the Boy Scouts of America. I can testify of the wonders it has brought into my small family and the life skills it has given my husband.