Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 16 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Giuseppe Antonio Tovini
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

Brave teen saves mom and her 3 kids from burning car

WATERBURY POLICE DEPARTMENT

Waterbury Police Department | Facebook | Fair use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/18/20

Disregarding his own safety, Justin Gavin courageously did what had to be done.

If you saw a car on fire you’d be advised to get away from it pretty fast. Yet one 18-year-old from Connecticut, Justin Gavin, did the complete opposite. As he was walking down the street, he spotted a woman driving down the road in a small SUV that was in flames. He forgot his own safety and ran straight to help her.

The Waterbury Police Department had already received numerous calls to report that a woman was trapped in her car that was on fire. While other cars were busy honking their horns, the teen tried to get her attention:

“I’m yelling Stop the car! Your car is on fire! Your car is on fire!” he explained to CNN. The mom couldn’t actually stop the car, so Gavin took to his heels and ran after her. “I just felt like if I was in that situation, I would want somebody to help me out,” he shared. “I guess my instincts took over.”

He got to the car in just the nick of time and managed to help get the mom and then her three children, aged 9, 4, and a one-year-old (who was in a car seat to complicate the rescue), to safety just as the car became engulfed in flames.

The young hero felt under pressure as he was anxious that he wouldn’t get everybody out in time. Thankfully his speedy actions meant everybody was safe and sound.

The police department honored Gavin by rewarding him with a challenge coin. “I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family that you saved,” Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said to a smiling Gavin.

While the teen has a new appreciation for life, his courageous act and willingness to put others before himself is an inspirational example for both young and old.

Being a teen isn’t always easy, so if you’re blessed with one that is a little challenging you might want to take a look at these helpful pointers:


Angiolino Bonetta

Read more:
He was only 14 but he already lived “heroic virtue”: Meet Angiolino Bonetta

Tags:
ChildrenInspiring stories
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
D'CRUZ FAMILY
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.