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Fourth-grade Hero Saves Dad’s Life with Quick Thinking

Heroes don’t have to wear capes and leap tall buildings. Sometimes they just wear shy smiles and think fast.

That’s what Belmont Elementary fourth-grader Lucas Walker did one recent Sunday evening, when he noticed his father, Mark, wasn’t breathing right. “He was like sleeping, but in a weirdway that I hadn’t seen before,” Lucas recalled. “He stopped breathing, then he had a breath, then he stopped.”

Mark Walker hugs his son, Lucas, while mom Stephanie applauds at an honors assembly

Lucas ran upstairs to tell his mother, Stephanie, then ran next door after she told him to get their neighbor, Ryan Senn, who knew CPR.

When first responders from the Plainfield Fire Department arrived soon after, they found Mark had suffered cardiac arrest. They continued working on him until an ambulance took him to Spectrum Health, where he underwent surgery and had a defibrillator implanted to protect against future episodes.

A little more than a week later, Mark walked into the Belmont Elementary gym and hugged his son as Lucas’ school mates cheered. Principal Jeremy Karel presented Lucas with a lifesaving recognition award at an honors assembly.

Lucas Walker gets a warm embrace from his proud grandpa, Roland Sherman

“Couldn’t ask for a better boy,” said Mark, 40, before emotion broke his voice.

“I’m so incredibly proud,” said his mother, Stephanie. “I didn’t know he would have the calm composure. If it wasn’t for him noticing and letting me know, Mark wouldn’t be here.”

Karel recited a poem about “heroes who walk among us, never looking for glory or praise,” and thanked Lucas for being one.

Asked how he felt about saving his father’s life, Lucas simply said, “Good.”

Heroes don’t necessarily need to talk a lot, either.

Family and members of the Plainfield Fire Department, including District Chief Kyle Svoboda, second from right, came to honor Lucas at the school assembly

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.

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