Sunday, February 10, 2013
WHEN A HERO'S LIFE COMES TO AN END: REMEMBERING JAMES RUSSELL JENKINS
The young man who is featured in this photograph is the topic of my post for today.
His formal name is James R. Jenkins. He is pictured with his son Kameron.
I know this young man as Russell. He is the younger brother of one of my sons friends from school.
On Thursday evening Russell made the headlines of our hometown news because of his actions during a life threatening situation that involved a 5 year old child who had fallen into a frozen pond located in an apartment complex.
Russell jumped into that pond to rescue the child from the icy water. He could swim and the child was definitely in danger. But something went wrong and Russell went under while trying to hold the child and himself up above water and they both went under. Russell was in the water 49 minutes before he was rescued by members of the dive crew. The child was found 12 minutes later.
Russell did not survive his time in the water. The child's condition was reported as life threatening on Friday, according to the article in the Columbus Dispatch.
I am feeling really sad about this situation. It was a truly heroic act that he performed on Thursday. The pond was covered with ice and he did not know who the child was in the water. He just knew that child needed help and he was the one who took the responsibility and went into action.
My heartfelt condolences go out to his family. This is such a stunning blow for them and for those who knew Russell. His own son is now without the benefit of his father. Even though he will know that his dad died doing the right thing, he will grow up without his presence in his life.
We do not often hear stories in which Black males are heroes. We hear too many stories in which they are cast as the villain. Even though this story has a painful ending, I does my heart good to know that this young man was willing to do the right thing at a critical moment in a child's life.
I hope and pray that the child who Russell tried to save will survive.
You can read the account of the entire story at The Columbus Dispatch's website.