When Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida in September 2022, Hardus Oberholzer was one of the thousands of first responders who fought nonstop to preserve lives in the face of the catastrophic natural disaster.
There were reportedly 26 lifesaving operations and rescues carried out by the St. Augustine Fire Department both before and after the storm. The majority of these rescues were carried out on area homeowners who didn’t anticipate Ian would be as terrible as it turned out to be.
But there was one rescue in particular that pulled at Hardus’ heartstrings a lot more than the others… and a striking photograph was taken as a result of it.
Hardus can be seen in the photo, which was taken by another member of the rescue team, carrying a young child in his arms as he makes his way through the treacherous water to safety. In retrospect, Hardus explained that the significance of this rescue was amplified for him by the fact that the boy is the same age as his own youngest son.
He said, “She will always have a little bit of my heart,” and he meant it. “There’s something about the way they look at you. We have to show up even when they are at their absolute worst, and we always have to perform at our highest level. Something that will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I hope that it does the same for them.
We are grateful to you, Hardus, for being the most selfless hero to this beautiful little girl.
You may find out more about his life by watching the film that has been provided below, and don’t forget to share it.
One of the 26 rescues that took place in St. Augustine is depicted in a photograph with Hardus Oberholzer helping a young child. He says that he will carry the memory of it with him always.