Tropical Storm Michael downed trees, caused power outages, and flooded roadways in much of Virginia. Some areas are still recovering from the after effects.
But there were also saw some heroic acts during the storm.
“You could see the water was backing up, the water gushed through there,” says Lewis Epps of the flooding on the roadway in his Danville neighborhood.
Epps’ grandson, Christian Hankins, sprung into action.
“As soon as he saw the water down there, he said I’ve got to go help these people,” says Hankins’ grandmother, Joan Epps.
Hankins wasted little time helping people to safety. Neighborhood residents documented his efforts on cell phone video.
“He got him out, got him up the bank, and came all the way up in the water. It’s special,” says Hankins’ grandmother.
Joan Epps is overcome with emotion thinking of her grandson’s courageous acts. The teenager spent the past six weeks visiting his grandparents in Danville. Lewis Epps tells WFXR that Hankins is now in Fayetteville and will soon report for recruit training with the Marine Corps.
“I was just like wow, he’s really carrying someone on his back. He’s such a good hero,” says Antroy Knowles, who recorded Hankins’ rescue efforts on his cell phone.
“To do such a thing, put himself at risk, just to help someone he didn’t know, was just amazing,” says neighborhood resident, Amber Morton.
WFXR spoke by phone with the man Hankins is seen carrying in the cell phone footage. He said he was uncertain he would have made it through the flood waters without Hankins’ help and that he appreciated being carried to safety.
Hankins’ grandparents are proud of their grandson, but say they’re hardly surprised by his heroism.
“I wish I weren’t old and I could have a hundred more kids,” says Joan Epps.
“I don’t,” says Lewis Epps.
But the Epps certainly do appreciate the kids and grandkids they do have.
A local state of emergency remains in place for Danville. About 800 to 1,000 residents in the area remain without power.