Lifestyle & Human Interest

Hero Teen Makes Ultimate Sacrifice to Save Stranger's Children Being Pulled Out to Sea


The Brooks family traveled from Atlanta, Georgia, to enjoy the sand and sun in Pensacola, Florida, for spring break. On Thursday, while they were at a beach, their children noticed four other children being swept out to sea by a strong rip current.

Some of them ran to find the adults, and some ran into the water. Bryce Brooks, 16, charged into the waves and beelined for the kids.

Beginning to feel the pull of the riptide, Brooks began yelling for help — but he was trying to direct attention to the children he was set on saving.

“Being selfless, our son Bryce, while being pulled by the currents himself, literally called for help, not for himself — he was calling for help for the little kids that he was looking out for,” Bryce’s father Alfred “Shivy” Brooks said, according to WSB-TV.

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Seeing the situation, family friend Charles “Chuck” Johnson II, also headed in after Brooks. There are no lifeguards along the stretch of beach they were at, and Escambia Fire Rescue responded within six minutes — but sadly, that wasn’t soon enough.

The four children were pulled from the water and taken to the hospital. According to WBFF, authorities said that three were in critical condition and one was in serious condition, and no updates have been given.

Bryce and family friend Charles died, making the ultimate sacrifice and forever proving the depth of their character.

“Bryce is a hero,” his father said, WSB reported. “He literally saved the lives of four kids at the expense of his own.”

The family and community have been grieving the loss of the young man, who was a student at Maynard Jackson High School, on the honor roll, a talented musician and a valiant protector.

“Our family is devastated,” Shivy continued. “Our community is devastated.”

Some in the family’s community started a GoFundMe to help support the family during this difficult time.

“Bryce, 16, was a selfless young man full of passion and love for life,” the fundraiser page reads. “Bryce was victim to a strong ocean current in Florida after his heroic action of jumping into the ocean to save a group of younger children out of the current. Bryce’s actions helped to save several lives. We can not even begin to understand the unimaginable impact this has had on their family, friends, and loved ones but know the power of this community.”

In a Facebook post, Shivy said that they would be using some of the money to start up a scholarship and a foundation to honor their late hero’s memory.

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“I could not be more proud as a father,” the post read. “My son, Bryce Carl Brooks… Hero. I love you baby boy. Thank you to everyone that has donated to Bryce’s GoFundMe. Please know that we will be creating a scholarship and foundation in Bryce’s name thanks to your generosity. There is purpose in this… thank you for helping my family to see a way forward.”

Bryce’s mother Crystal Brooks also voiced her pride over his noble actions.

“We’re never going to get to see Bryce grow up and be the full man that he was going to be,” she said. “But we know that he stepped into his manhood to save these children. And that makes me proud.

“It doesn’t take away an ounce of pain, but it makes me proud of our son.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking