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February 15, 2019

Disabled Vietnam vet heard a woman screaming from a nearby house and rolled his wheelchair over

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Bob Butler's bravery and courage proves that not all heroes wear capes and that even a disability can't hold a good man down.

Bob is a Vietnam veteran who lost both his legs in a land mine explosion in 1965. When he returned home, he was decorated as a war hero.

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Butler was tinkering in his small town Arizona garage one summer when he heard a neighbor screaming in distress. He quickly rolled his wheelchair in the direction of the house but dense vegetation would not let him pass.

So Butler climbed out of his chair and commando crawled through the dirt and bushes, regardless of his own discomfort. His only mission was to find the woman who was screaming.

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“I had to get there. It didn’t matter how much it hurt.”

Butler arrived at the house to find that a three-year-old girl, born without arms, had fallen into a pool and couldn't get out. Stephanie Hanes was lying motionless at the bottom of the swimming pool.

Her mother, in a state of panic, stood rooted to the spot, frantically screaming for help. Without hesitation, Butler jumped into the water and rescued little Stephanie.

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By this time, Stephanie's face had turned blue from lack of oxygen, she had no pulse and was not breathing. Butler began CPR while her mother called the fire department who advised her that their paramedics were unavailable. 

Butler calmy continued administering CPR and assured Stephanie's mother that she would be fine.

“I was her arms to get out of the pool. It’ll be okay. I am now her lungs. Together we can make it.”

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Within a few seconds, the girl coughed and regained consciousness. Crying, she hugged her mother who turned to Butler and asked him how he had so much faith that Stephanie would pull through. He replied:

“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."

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In a world such as ours where we are so quick to bully, label, judge or even ridiculously fear people who look different or speak a different language or worship differently to us, how amazing to discover two acts of bravery in this story.

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Clearly, the brave young Vietnamese girl taught the strong American soldier a lesson in courage and when God gave him the opportunity to pay it forward, he didn't waver at all.

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