Bob Butler returned home a war hero after losing his legs in a 1965 land mine explosion in Vietnam. Over twenty years later, he proved once again that he still is truly a hero.
While Butler was working in his garage in a small town in Arizona, he heard a woman’s screams coming from a nearby house. It was a hot summer day when he began rolling his wheelchair toward the house. The dense shrubbery prevented him access to the back door. So he got out of his chair and crawled through the dirt and bushes.
“I had to get there”, he says. “It didn’t matter how much it hurt.” Butler arrived at the pool and saw a three-year-old girl named Stephanie Hanes lying at the bottom. Stephanie had been born without arms and had fallen in the water and couldn’t swim. While her mother stood over her baby screaming frantically, Butler dove to the bottom of the pool and brought little Stephanie up to the deck. She was blue, had no pulse and was not breathing.
Butler immediately began performing CPR to revive her while Stephanie’s mother telephoned the fire department. She sobbed helplessly as she hugged Butler’s shoulder.
Butler continued with his CPR and calmly reassured her. “Don’t worry”, he said. “I was her arms to get out of the pool. It’ll be okay. I am now her lungs. Together we can make it”.
A few seconds later the little girl coughed, regained consciousness, and began to cry. They hugged and the mother asked Butler how he knew it would be okay. The truth is, “I didn’t know”, he told her. “But when my legs were blown off in the war, I was all alone in a field. No one was there to help except a little Vietnamese girl. As she struggled to drag me into her village, she whispered in broken English, ‘It okay. You can live. I be your legs. Together we make it’”. Her kind words brought hope to my soul and I wanted to do the same for Stephanie. There are simply those times when we cannot stand alone. There are those times when we need someone to be our legs, our arms, our friend.”
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