18-year-old Alex Harris was not only a protective brother, but he also had a vast influence on the small-town community of Missouri just by who he was.
A Missouri teen is being celebrated as a hero after drowning in an attempt to save his 4-year-old brother. On July 23, Alex Harris, 18, was swimming in the Missouri River when his brother Asher got caught in a strong current. The Holt County Coroner declared Alex dead the following day, reports People.
A Missouri teenager died last month after saving his 4-year-old brother from drowning. https://t.co/u0989s5Ame— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 7, 2022
“I heard Alex yelling for help and my wife and I took off running,” Tyson Harris, the teen’s father, told TODAY Parents.
Describing the harrowing situation of seeing his son drown, Tyson added that he had "never seen anything like it before." Alex did not let go of his brother until the very end. "Alex held Asher up until his mom got there and then he went down,” Tyson said.
"I watched his hands let go and he sank. I knew the exhaustion he was feeling," Alex's mother, Nikki, said in part. "I tried so hard to get to him faster."
Tyson declared, "My son is a hero. If he had to do that over 100 times, he’d do the same thing every time. He was not leaving Asher."
Tyson added that Alex and Asher shared a warm bond between them despite their 14-years-age gap. Alex had always been a protective brother. "Even a few days before he died, Asher had scraped his knees after falling off his bike, and Alex was seen comforting him on the family's security video," Niki said to TODAY Parents.
Missouri Teen Dies After Saving 4-Year-Old Brother from Drowning: 'My Son Is a Hero,' Dad Says https://t.co/3mLWtubduK— People (@people) August 5, 2022
Tyson also wrote a heartfelt obituary on Facebook, saying he thinks that Alex is a hero. "My son Alex passed away yesterday saving his little brother in a drowning accident. If it hadn't of been for him keeping him up until his mother got there they would both be gone. I love you son and I wish every second I could take your place. You are a hero son."
The 18-year-old's death has profoundly affected the little town of Oregon, Missouri, as the community recalls him as a hero. Harris graduated from South Holt High School this year, and the day after his passing, the school conducted a candlelight vigil in his honor.
Josh Petersen, the head football coach at South Holt, told KQTV that Harris had a positive impact on the neighborhood. "He affected the lives of a lot of people and when you look at the small-town community, everybody was greatly impacted, but he also impacted everybody just by who he was," Petersen said.
He added, "Alex's vast influence of what he achieved and who Alex was, even though he's gone, he won't be forgotten. I believe that's simply a fantastic quality in him."
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