To beat the summer heat, a family of four decided to spend their weekend by the Missouri River. Little did they know that their fun day would soon be overshadowed by an unexpected and tragic event that would turn their world upside down.
Every parent wishes to inculcate strong moral and ethical values in their kids from an early age. Every child’s learning style is different. Some learn best by emulating their elders’ behavior and observing their surroundings, while others like to experiment and explore new options.
But sometimes, youngsters might display such heartwarming, positive, and exemplary actions that they end up inspiring and winning millions of hearts. The story we’re sharing today is about a young man who impacted countless lives with his tremendous gesture of kindness.
A FAMILY DAY
On Saturday, July 23, 2022, the Harris family planned to turn to the riverside to make the most of their weekend. Parents Tyson Richard Harris and Nikki Harris were accompanied by their two sons, Alex Harris, 18, and Asher Harris, 4.
According to Tyson and Nikki, their boys shared a special connection, despite having a 14-year age gap.
After graduating from South Holt High School in Oregon in June, Alex started to help with his family’s outfitter business in northwest Missouri.
A LOVELY YOUNG MAN
Tyson shared that his son was incredibly reliable, and he could always count on him. The daddy-son duo woke up early every morning to move thousands of decoys around the fields.
Not only did they enjoy work but also cherished each other’s company. Per Tyson, people were extremely fond of his elder son, and many customers who came back every year told him they remembered Alex.
TO THE RESCUE
Such was Alex’s nature; according to his parents, he had a heart of gold. So, it wasn’t surprising that when his baby brother, Asher, got in trouble on their weekend outing, he immediately sprang into action.
Alex was said to be swimming in the Missouri River when little Asher was caught in a swift current. The teenager’s cry for help also alerted his parents, who started running toward their boys.
THE HERO SAVIOR
Tyson and Nikki hurried to get to their children, and the former noted that the water moved so fast that he couldn’t recall having seen anything like it before.
The father said he saw Alex hold Asher up until their mother arrived, and then he went down. Nikki recounted:
“I watched his hands let go and he sank. I knew his exhaustion he was feeling. I tried so hard to get to him faster.”
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported that Alex went under the water on July 23 and did not resurface while trying to save his little brother. Regarding his warrior son, Tyson said:
“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.”
A STRONG BROTHERLY CONNECTION
According to Tyson and Nikki, their boys shared a special connection, despite having a 14-year age gap. A few days before Alex’s demise, he was said to have been captured on the family’s security camera comforting little Asher, who had fallen off his bike and wounded his knees.
Tyson expressed that his little son understands that his older brother saved his life and has been telling everyone that Alex is in heaven. But the devastated father said that he and his family are still struggling to come to terms with Alex’s death.
Recalling their 15-minute drive to work every day, Tyson broke down and said he missed listening to music and chatting with his son. “Every morning, I expect him to be here. I’ll sit around and wait a little bit like maybe he’s coming,” added an emotional Tyson.
“I LOVE YOU”
In a Facebook post on July 25, the heartbroken father said his teenage boy died while saving his baby brother in a drowning accident. Tyson further wrote:
“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.”
BROKEN FOR LIFE
On July 27, Nikki took to Facebook to share a touching post for her sweet boy, who bravely sacrificed his life to save his brother.
The grieving mother shared that she was proud of her hero son, and her heart ached to see and hug him again. She also expressed:
“Forever will I be broken but you are my hero in more ways than you’ll ever know.”
Many people who knew Alex, including friends and family members, left heartfelt messages for him on social media:
“The loss of Alex Harris has been truly heartbreaking and today we said our final goodbyes. Fly high buddy, every decoy set this season will be in memory of you.”
— (@karlicurtisstecklein) July 30, 2022
“Alex Harris was the most kind hearted kid and always willing to lend a hand! His smile is forever etched in my mind. I pray for peace and comfort for his family and friends in the days to come! He touched so many people’s lives!!”
— (@jodee.weisprussman) July 25, 2o22
REMEMBERING THE YOUNG MAN
South Holt High School honored the late hero with a candlelight vigil on July 24. The lights at the football field flashed to pay homage to Alex, and the entire community gathered in a touching ceremony to remember the kind young man.
So many people were said to have shown up to commemorate Alex that there weren’t enough candles for everyone. Alex’s teacher, April Allen, expressed:
“Alex was a poster child for a small-town kid: big heart, always willing to help others and put his life on the line, which he did.”
Football coach Josh Peterson revealed that he knew Alex both on and off the field, and he was the same warm-hearted and loving person. He also added:
“I know a lot of our players have played with him. They’ve got a heavy heart. So this season will be pretty much dedicated to Alex, played for him and played like how he played.”
“YOU WILL BE MISSED”
The candlelight ceremony for Alex was covered by McFadden Media. The caption of their Facebook post read: “Alex had a huge heart for his close friends and especially his family. You will be missed by so many. Fly high, Hero.”
On August 5, Nikki turned to Facebook again to express how deeply broken she felt after losing her son. She wrote:
“July 23, I experienced a loss greater than I could’ve ever imagined. Not only did I lose my son that day but he took a piece of my heart with him.”
Four days after Alex passed away, Nikki contracted COVID-19. However, she said she got better and thanked everyone who reached out to her and supported her during the trying circumstances.
Indeed, what the Harris family endured is utterly heartbreaking and soul-crushing. Losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. We send our deepest condolences, heartfelt prayers, and love to this family, and we’re sure Alex is watching over his baby brother from the heavens.
Click here to read another story about a boy who saw a car sink into the river and immediately dived in to save three girls and a police officer.