This is a true tale of courage and selflessness. During the Ft. Lauderdale massacre that claimed the lives of five people by a crazed ISIS supporter, another story unfolded. A mother of two, Annika Dean, found herself near the shooter and a possible target in his killing spree. An elderly man of 70, Tony Bartosiewicz, saw her go to the ground for protection. He came to her and laid on top of her… he whispered in her ear and told her, “I will protect you.” He was willing to give his life for another without a second thought for his own safety. That’s a real hero.
Annika was terrified. She was afraid that she would never see her children again. She is a school teacher and when it happened, she knew she couldn’t get away fast enough. There was literally nowhere to hide. Fortunately, neither her nor Tony were harmed, but it was the fact that he so selflessly protected her, knowing it could cost him his life, that made him a hero to Annika forever more.
From the Conservative Review:
A Rochester, New York, man who found himself in the midst of the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport on Friday did something amazing that everyone should know about.
He stepped in to protect a woman from gunfire.
Tony Bartosiewicz, 70, happened to be near Annika Dean, a Florida school teacher, when the shooting began. Dean, who said the gunman closed in on where she was, instinctively got on the ground for cover.
That’s when Bartosiewicz stepped in and lay on top of her to protect her, the Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
“He basically climbed on top of me and whispered, ‘I will protect you,’” said Dean, 42. “I knew he might be a victim, but I also knew I would survive.”
The mother of two said she was waiting for her luggage when she heard the shots. There was nowhere to hide.
“There was no way I could have escaped,” she said, according to the Miami Herald. “I would have been right in his path if I had tried to evacuate through the doors.”
Tony couldn’t be reached for comment after all this, but his daughter says that’s just the kind of guy he is. Annika couldn’t get over it, “The first thing I said to him was I thanked him and told him that it was terrifying and what he did brought me comfort, that it was just so comforting,” she said, reported the Herald. “I thanked him throughout the day and told him he was a hero.”
There are true heroes among us and many don’t know they even have the capacity for it until they are tested. I suspect this isn’t the first time Tony has done something as selfless as this. It’s in his nature and he would do it without thinking. Here’s to you Tony… I wish there were many more like you.