By Renester P. Suralta
Heroes do not exist only in fictional stories and movies but in real life. They are ordinary people who perform extraordinary deeds to serve, protect and save people. They do the right thing immediately, unmindful of the danger and adversity.
Everyday heroes are those people who work in ordinary jobs but at the same time have contributed a lot to the betterment of society. The janitors, bus drivers, policemen, security guards, teachers, paramedics and lifeguards, to mention a few, are our everyday heroes. They make personal sacrifices and go the extra mile to respond beyond the call of duty.
Such is the story of Jundel Escorel, an 18-year-old Grade 10 working student of Media Once National High School, a resident of Barangay Poog, Toledo City. On the fateful Sunday of Feb. 4, 2024, he reported for work to proxy an absent guard at a beach in Barangay Catarman Liloan town. While on duty, Jundel responded immediately to a distress call for help for drowning children ages 11 and 12. Jundel’s adrenalin rushed to rescue the kids. He successfully saved the two girls but drowned himself, unfortunately.
According to witnesses, he could swim and save the children; however, the big waves and sea currents on that day were so strong. Some residents believe there’s a whirlpool area on the beach. His dead body was recovered under the Suba Bridge a few meters away from the resort.
Jundel was an average student known for being a good chess player by his teacher and a responsible child in the family. His teacher-adviser described him as friendly, kind, helpful, witty and sincere. But often absent due to his work. His remarkable ambition to finish his studies and help his poor parents motivated him to work his way to school like many determined students in public. Before the tragedy, he was a survivor of two motor accidents. He left behind his Grade 12 twin brother in the same school.
Jundel is one of our everyday heroes who is placed in extraordinary circumstances and acts with heroic qualities. You do not need to act like Superman or Wonder Woman to save humanity or a brave knight to rescue a damsel in distress. All you need is to help that old lady cross the busy street or be a Good Samaritan.
In our modern culture, you do not need to die a hero but act as someone who takes responsibility with courage, selflessness and a heart of gold. Anyone can be an everyday hero, as long as they have a heart for charity. They are willing to help, make sacrifices, and take risks so others may live. I strongly believe there are still a lot of everyday heroes within and among us.