July 11, 2023 by Cathy Stack
On a late June evening. 90-year-old Catherine Ritchie entered her bedroom to find the bed engulfed in flames. She made a frantic attempt to extinguish the flames by throwing blankets at the fire, but it did little good. Smoke quickly filled the room and overwhelmed her. Disoriented and unsure of which way to escape, she remained on the ground in her hallway paralyzed by fear.
Around the same time, four teen boys – 17-year-old Wyatt Hall, 16-year-old Dylan Wick, 16-year-old Seth Byrd and 14-year-old Nick Byrd – were walking nearby, outside of one of the boy’s homes. They smelled smoke and heard a fire alarm go off in the home across the street. The boys immediately jumped into action to help save whoever was trapped inside the burning home.
One boy broke the glass on the front door to gain entry, while another called 911. A third kicked in the back door. The fourth teen quickly ran to a neighbor’s home to find an ax to help break in the front door.
Nick successfully made entry into the home first. He found Catherine lying helplessly in her hallway. He picked her up and frantically ran her outside to safety. Firefighters soon arrived and extinguished the fire.
“This young boy was right there,” Catherine recalled. “He picked me up, and I said, 'I can walk,' and he said, 'We're getting out of here.'”
Catherine and her family, which consists of 10 children and 42 grandchildren, expressed extreme gratitude for the boys’ quick response.
“Thank you for your selfless acts of heroism and courage,” said Missy Richie, Catherine’s daughter, in a message she wrote to the boys. “Thank you for not allowing this to be the tragic end to our mother's amazing life. Thank you for staying with her, hugging her and helping her feel less alone until we could get to her.”
The Foundation For a Better Life and PassItOn believe that Wyatt Hall, Dylan Wick, Seth Byrd and Nick Byrd are heroes. Their action is a great example of the value of Bravery. The boys never met Catherine prior to that evening, and they risked their lives to help her in her time of need. Thanks to these young men, Catherine has many more years to spend with her family.
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