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Spirit of Acadiana: Port Barre's reluctant hero honored

Posted at 7:39 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 20:39:57-04

Loving, genuine emotion about a selfless act makes any story…worth it.

“Thank you, and I’m so sorry you almost lost your life in saving me,” says Mrs. JoAnn Dalfrey. “But I’ll never ever forget you. You’re my guardian angel; thank you.”

Eleven days ago-- Last Monday, 17-year old Hunter Runyon of Port Barre was a guardian angel or a hero, who didn’t think he was a ‘hero.'

“It’s a big honor,” says Runyon, “and I just want to thank everyone for the recognition they gave me even though I don’t it was that deserved, I do thank everybody.”

But the very thing Runyon did--- turning his car around on Highway-190, going deep into the swift current of Bayou Teche, pulling open a door and saving a life made this ‘hero’ thing even more of a ‘thing’.

“My first thought was,” he recalls, “‘Would I be able to swim there to get there fast enough?’ Stuff like that and just how I was gonna’ get her out.”

You see? Never once did he say, “I’m gonna be a ‘hero’.

And today at the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Complex in Opelousas, the reluctant hero was formally saluted by Sheriff Bobby Guidroz as one who saves lives. From the podium, Guidroz made this pronouncement: “I, Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, recognize Hunter Runyon for his outstanding effort and determination that occurred on July 6, 2020.”

Here’s what made the event even better:

The 66-year old woman Runyon saved? Mrs. JoAnn Dalfrey?

She was there, her eternal gratefulness right there for all to see.

“Thank you, so much,” says Mrs. Dalfrey. “I see in your eyes how you’re a great person, and you’ll go far, far in life.”

It’s what real heroes do. Act heroically, but never for the recognition. Hunter Runyon and the word ‘hero’ are forevermore …synonymous. “Just put forth the effort; you’ll surprise yourself,” he says.

And Mrs. Dalfrey agrees.

“Sorry, I’m crying, but it’s just that I’m so happy. You have a wonderful life ahead of you; you’re so young. Thank you.”

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