AHOSKIE – Monday Dec. 2 was more than just a school day for Bearfield Primary School 3rd-grader William Bunch.
It was also “Homecoming.”
After 30 days of living in a local motel, Bunch, his parents, William Sr. and Sharon, his sister, Tonijah, and his grandmother, Marie Harrell, can finally return home.
And it’s because of young William that they’re even able to return to a home.
Monday, at the regular meeting of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, William was cited for heroism with a special certificate for saving his family from certain tragedy in the early morning hours of Nov. 1 when their home on Newsome Grove Road in Ahoskie caught fire.
“It was a little before one in the morning when William came running in hollering that the house was on fire and full of smoke,” said Mrs. Bunch, recalling the nightmarish incident.
The entire family, including Mrs. Harrell, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, was able to all get out safely.
The Ahoskie Rural Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the home within minutes and was able to get the fire under control. The family wash room was destroyed and the four-bedroom 1400 square-foot home suffered smoke damage throughout the house.
With the family greatly inconvenienced by the incident, the fire caused William to miss a couple of days of school. When his mother returned him to Bearfield and told both his teacher, Lisa Outlaw, and school principal, Julie Shields, what had happened, the ladies were so impressed with the story of William’s bravery, presence of mind, and quick thinking that they began to circulate word of his heroism.
Eventually, that word found its way to the ears of the Commissioners.
“I saved my family from a fire,” is all the youngster could modestly say of his courage and gallantry.
More than 50 neighbors, friends, church members, and school personnel, including Hertford County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Perry, turned out at the Monday meeting for the short recognition ceremony.
“I’m just excited and pleased he was recognized,” said Sharon Bunch. “I think children should be (lauded) when they do good things because people don’t always want to hear the negative stuff.”