16-year-old Leighton Page is a young man mature beyond his years, and with more courage than an entire rabble of gun hating protesters put together.
He was out enjoying the outdoors last weekend, fishing and hunting. He had just bought at new Browning shotgun, a mere two weeks after the death of his father from a heart attack. That loss came on the heals of the death of his grandfather a mere weeks earlier.
His plans for enjoying a peaceful time outdoors all changed when he saw a boat with five people in it capsize nearby. He raced to the scene, only to have his own boat capsize as he tried to effect a rescue.
He tried to rescue four of the five by himself, clutching at them while trying to escape an eddy current: the mother, her 5-year-old daughter, and two boys ages 6 and 8.
The current pulled the mom and daughter away from Page’s grasp, and then literally tore away most of the clothes off both Page and the boys before a third boat helped Page bring the two boys to safety.
They found the little girl a while later, and she’s expected to survive. The mom’s boyfriend was found dead and the mother’s body hasn’t yet been recovered.
The local fire chief credits Leighton Page completely with the boys’ survival. “Leyton Page is the reason those kids survived, period,” he said, according to the Times-Picayune.
Hearing that the courageous boy lost his shotgun in the rescue, sportsman stepped up to buy him a new one, but courageous Leighton Page wouldn’t take any of it. Page wanted it all to go to the three kids who lost their mother.
The fire chief was determined to make the hero whole, so he called Browning. When they heard the particulars, they stepped up and said they would pay for any repairs to restore the two-week-old shotgun and if it was a total loss, they would present him a brand new one.
Here’s a couple of teasers from the Times-Picayune:
Like most Louisiana boys, 16-year-old Leyton Page of Bogalusa loves the outdoors. Unlike most anyone, Page is a genuine hero.
Page lived with his father until two weeks ago when the Pine High School student came home to find his father dead of natural causes. His grandfather also died in February, and Page was understandably blue after losing what another relative called “the two most important men in his life.” Following their deaths, the grieving sportsman bought a 12-gauge shotgun for hunting.
Around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Page took his boat out on to the usually placid, dark water of the Pearl River Navigational Canal that runs along the western edge of the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge. In the course of just a few minutes, the teenager who has coped with more death than a teenager should have to wound up saving the lives of two boys aged 6 and 8.
“Leyton Page is the reason those kids survived, period,” said St. Tammany Fire District 9 Chief Scott Brewer.
When the people around Bogalusa and St. Tammany Parish learned that 16-year-old Leyton Page had lost his new shotgun while rescuing two boys in turbulent water Saturday they wanted to help. They raised $1,500 for Page.
Page refused to take a dollar of it, St. Tammany Fire District Chief Scott Brewer said.
Instead, Page insisted all the money should go to the boys and their 5-year-old sister, the three survivors of a boating accident that claimed their mother’s and her boyfriend’s lives.
So Brewer took the next step: he called Browning, the gun manufacturer.
When the company heard how Page had clung to the two boys in the Pearl River Navigational Canal while a ripping current tore the clothes off the boys and eventually pulled their mother under, it had one question: Where should we send the check?
Browning is picking up the full cost of Page’s repair bill and, if the gun is beyond repair, the company is giving Page a new gun, Brewer said.