As we sift through stories of ongoing struggles and uncertainty relating to the aftermath of the devastating eastern Kentucky flooding--whether it be survivors appealing to FEMA for more assistance or departments of education wondering when the school year can begin--we're also reminded of heroism that unfolded amid catastrophe.


Back in July, when the rains kept coming and the floodwaters kept rising, Knott County's Nathan Day received a message--a cry for help, as it were. A neighbor of his had reached out saying that her five grandchildren were stranded by the flooding and needed to be rescued.

Since they had no boat, Nathan and his wife, Krystal, made it to the house where the kids and two other women had escaped the rising waters by climbing onto the roof. They managed to get all seven back to their house before Nathan went back out in an attempt to get two of his former teachers to safety. They were living alone and trapped in their homes. But Nathan, with the help of three others, got the women out of their houses.


Day humbly downplayed the "hero" label and made sure to name-check the men who helped him rescue the teachers in an emotional interview with CBS News:


More than a month later, Day's actions did not go unnoticed by Pilot Pen, a major sponsor of the syndicated Kelly Clarkson Show, and the company that awarded Nathan and Krystal $1000 for their heroic actions that early morning--the rescue took place at 3 AM.

Kelly Clarkson invited them to join her for her season premiere and to make the presentation.

Kelly also made a donation to the Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund.


A few weeks ago, during a special session, Kentucky lawmakers recognized Day for his bravery. Representative John Blanton even acknowledged the former coal miner's insistence that he just did what he felt was the right thing to do and that others were there with him that morning.

Most real heroes eschew the label, and Nathan Day was and is no different. And we're all very thankful. Needless to say, so are the nine people he rescued.


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