Courage comes in all shapes and sizes. So we learned when Indiana Governor Mike Pence and other Indiana lawmakers sent commendations to 6-year-old Xander McPheeters for saving his dad’s life. Along with the state commendation, he was also honored with the Hobie’s Heroes award, named after Hobie Billingsley, legendary diver and coach.
Young Xander was the youngest to ever receive the award, and the story of why will leave you a little teary.
One day, Xander’s dad, James McPheeters was at their home on a tractor when a dead piece of tree branch fell and hit him in the head. James was knocked out, draped across the steering wheel of his tractor.
He recounted the harrowing details of the accident.
“About 6-8 inches around, about eight foot long, dead piece fell out, hit me in the head,” he said. “He come down there ’cause he sees the tractor’s up against a tree just sittin’ there spinning and he couldn’t really see me ’cause I was out.”
That’s when Xander took action. The little boy turned the tractor off, saw all the blood, and ran next door to get help. The youngster was used to working outside with his dad and the equipment. Xander broke down into tears as he recalled the scary day. “I saw a tree hit him, and I runned out there. I helped him, shut the tractor off, everything for him, to help him.” When Xander couldn’t wake up his father, he ran to neighbors, who called 911. James McPheeters was soon airlifted to the hospital.
Because of Xander’s quick thinking, his father is now successfully recovering from a concussion and other serious injuries, including multiple broken bones in his arm and spine.
Said James, “He’s very smart and got a big heart,” James McPheeters said of his son. “He knows that it was a bad situation.”
“I helped him. I love him,” said Xander, tearfully accepting his accolade.
Congratulations to Xander on earning his local hero’s award, and to his parents for raising such a brave and responsible young person!