Justin Gavin, then 18 years old, had a trip to the local Walgreens that turned out to be very dramatic and incredibly lucky for a young family.
As he walked down the street, he halted in his tracks at the sight of something. As he stood there, a little SUV sped by, its whole outside engulfed in flames. When he saw the children in the vehicle, his heart jumped.
There was a lady at the wheel of a flaming automobile, and drivers all around her were blaring their horns and stepping out of their vehicles to call her attention. It became evident, however, that she could not stop the car.
The Waterbury Police Department had gotten many complaints about a burning automobile with a lady inside. But because there was no police presence, Gavin took swift action.
As the automobile caught fire, he followed it down the street to save the occupants. To stop the automobile, I am shouting. There’s a fire in your automobile! What happened to your car? I just thought that if I were in that scenario, I’d appreciate it if someone pitched in to assist. I acted on pure instinct, I suppose.”
As soon as the vehicle stopped completely, Gavin jumped aboard. Unthinkingly, he assisted the mother in exiting the car first. As the fire spread, he rescued three kids (4, 9, and 1) from the backseat. A few short seconds later, the automobile was completely engulfed in flames.
Captain Michael DaSilva said in a video of the incident uploaded to the police department’s Facebook page: “As the flames became bigger, Justin took all three kids, including a 1-year-old infant in a car seat, from the vehicle.”
It was worrisome, and I wasn’t sure if I could get everyone out in time,” Gavin added. Thankfully, I did. The mother reportedly thanks the adolescent for the family’s survival.
When Gavin becomes a superhero, he joins a long line of regular people who have made the transition. On highway 70 in St. Louis, Missouri, in July, Antonio Morgan saw an automobile wreck. The hero went to the flaming vehicle and assisted the driver in getting out. Morgan’s routine interstate commute transformed into an opportunity to save a life.
Spagnolo said, “When someone does something heroic or does a great job, I give them a challenge coin as a token of my thanks.” It’s a little mark of my gratitude for being a part of such a fantastic community, and it’s meant to honour the courageous deed you performed earlier today.
Their unselfish actions of Gavin were acknowledged later that day when the Waterbury Police Department awarded him a hero medal.
The teen’s bravery and fast thinking were recognized by Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo, who presented him with a “challenge coin” token of thanks. Officers who perform acts of courage are the only ones who are often awarded the coin.
When someone does something heroic or exceptionally well, Spagnolo gives them a challenge coin as a token of appreciation. This is a little mark of my gratitude for your outstanding contributions to our society and for honouring the courageous deed you performed earlier today.
He said, “I hope that having that penny will serve as a simple reminder of this day and that you’ll be able to look back with gratitude on all the good that came out of this for you and the family you rescued. You may go back to that period and realize how significant it was whenever you want.
In addition to preventing the loss of four lives, Gavin also earned a new appreciation for law enforcement. Having gone through this, he remarked, “It made me understand life is brief,” which he described as both profound and profoundly revealing.