BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Our Hand It On segment for Wednesday, October 28, is one we 'tag teamed' on with WAFB's Jeff Morrow. Jeff features a local boy or girl In his Amazing Kids segment each month.
Well, the October Amazing Kid is also our Hand It On recipient, and rightfully so. Here's why.
Joshua Butler is a 7th grader at Glasgow Middle School in Baton Rouge. One morning, the bus driver who picks Joshua up in front of his house drove up and saw Joshua sitting in a chair in the front yard wrapped in a blanket. His house was in flames!
She was stunned, jumped out of the bus and asked Joshua what happened.
Joshua explained how he was awakened about 5 that morning to the smell of smoke. A careful inspection of the house revealed the entire back side was on fire! Instinctively, Joshua ran into his mom's room where she and his sister Brianna were sleeping, and in a deep sleep at that!
It took several shouts to awaken his mom, Breatha Jones, and baby sister. Breatha woke up confused as to what was going on. Joshua rushed the three of them out the bedroom door, through the living area and into the front yard. All were safe and accounted for.
Shortly thereafter, the fire department arrived and extinguished the fire, but the house was a total loss.
"I feel my child saved us," Breatha explained. "Cause if he wouldn't have been there, I don't think we would have gotten outta there."
At this point, the bus driver left to complete her morning route. Once at Glasgow Middle, the bus driver ran into the office and told guidance counselor Linda McCann what she had witnessed at Joshua's house.
"As soon as I heard that," Ms. McCann explained. "She said you need to go over there because Joshua is the hero of this fire."
That's all Ms. McCann needed to hear. She gathered faculty members at Glasgow for a quick meeting and explained what had happened to Joshua and his family.
It was a unanimous decision by the Glasgow family to nominate Joshua for WAFB's Amazing Kid segment.
In the week that followed, Ms. McCann exchanged phone calls with WAFB's Jeff Morrow. An interview time and location was set up for Jeff to shoot the segment.
But something was still weighing heavily on Linda McCann's heart. You see, she couldn't get past the fact that Joshua and his family lost everything in that fire – clothes, books, pictures, and more.
"During that fire, Joshua only thought of his family," said Ms. McCann. "He only thought of his little sister. He only thought of his mother. That is a hero for you. They don't think of themselves; they think of 'What can I do to help others?'"
To help others, she thought. Yes – HAND IT ON!! So Ms. McCann asked Jeff if this story would also qualify for a Hand It On segment. Jeff spoke with me about Joshua's situation in detail. Our Hand It On team agreed wholeheartedly to help.
So the day came for Jeff to record the Amazing Kids segment with Joshua, his mother Breatha and little sister Breanna. Little did the family know Jeff had also arranged for Ms. McCann to be there, hiding around the corner, with our Hand It On gift of $300 safely tucked into her pocket. And then the moment of reveal came.
"Hi Joshua!" Ms. McCann exclaimed as she came out of hiding. "Well… got a surprise for you. Through the generosity of WAFB, I'd like to present you with a cash award of $300 to help defray the cost of all that you lost in your tragedy."
Surprised and a little emotional, a shy Joshua squeaked out "Thank you."
"You're welcome sweetheart" was Ms. McCann's response!
And to our team assembled there recording the event, Ms. McCann simply exclaimed "I consider him a hero, yes."
As do we, Ms. McCann. As do we.