Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes? Heroes are walking quietly among us, and we don’t realize it until we need them. They are Good Samaritans. A boy who saves his mother’s thong underwear when he discovers them static clung in his pant leg.
A 6th grader who calls out a bus driver for a hit-and-run.
And there are mothers.
Holly McNally, a 35-year-old mother of three children, ages 8, 11 and 15, proved her hero status, not once, but twice over the course of just three days.
On Monday she gave birth to her fourth child, Connor. An act of heroism in and of itself. Because birthing a baby, is no small feat. And her birth story had a twist.
She ended up delivering him in a hospital emergency room with the help of a nurse, as neither her doctor nor the ER doctor made it in time.
But bringing a new life into the world wasn’t the only act of heroism McNally would perform in less than ONE WEEK. Not only would she bring forth a new life, but she would also save one from leaving this earth.
Because on Thursday? A mere THREE DAYS after giving birth, she saved a semi-driver from a massive tanker fire.
And I don’t know about you, but three days after having a baby I was barely walking up and down the stairs, never mind rescuing a grown man from a burning inferno.
Holly and her mother were on their way home after visiting baby Connor in the NICU, where he was spending the week after his birth.
They spotted smoke billowing from a ramp off Interstate 70, east of Indianapolis. A tanker, carrying 4,000 gallons of jet fuel, had overturned on the ramp and burst into flames.
Holly tells WTHR-13 News:
“I saw the actual semi on fire and then looked to the front of the semi and then I see a man on fire, like his head was burning.
I told my mom, ‘I’m stopping and I’m going over there.’ and she’s like, ‘No you’re not.’ I was like, ‘I am.'”
And go she did. Because when a Mama Bear is unleashed? There is nothing, NOTHING, that will stop her.
Holly jumped the guardrail, ran down one side of the ramp and up the other.
Just as she got to the semi driver, another man, 50-year-old Mitch Navarre, also arrived on the scene. Using a blanket to extinguish the flames covering the driver’s entire body, they were able to drag him to safety mere seconds before the tanker exploded.
“We could feel the backdraft of the fire hit us and push us…If we would not have moved and gotten out of that area, we all would have been gone.”
The driver, 59-year-old Jeffrey Denman, suffered severe burns. His clothes were dripping off and all that was left were his boots. He is currently in the hospital in critical condition.
McNally said she’s no hero. She tells CNN in an interview:
“I’m just a stay-at-home mommy.”
But that’s where she’s wrong. Because being a mom is EXACTLY why she is a hero. She credits her maternal instinct for prompting her to action, with little regard for her own life.
She tells CNN:
“He may be my age, but there’s another mom out there and another family with people that love him like I love my kids. And if that were my son, I would want somebody to do the same if they could.”
And that right there is what makes a person, A MOTHER, a hero.
We may not be out there, pulling people from fiery crashes. Or saving a person from choking on a chicken wing at Wing King. We may not be doing what people typically credit heroes with doing. We aren’t police officers or firefighters. Doctors or surgeons.
We are moms. With a fierce love for our children.
A love that will protect them at any cost. A love that nurtures them, cares for them, and above all, knows no bounds. And it is that kind of love that brought out the hero in Holly for the world to see.
And her biggest fans are her children. But they didn’t need to hear about their mom’s amazing rescue to prove to them that she is cool and strong. They already knew that. But sometimes it’s nice when everyone else knows it too.
“My son is big,” McNally told CNN.
“He’s 6 foot tall and I’m 5’5″ so for him to say that everybody thinks I’m a badass, that just makes me smile.”
Badass is exactly what Holly is.
And if there were any doubt, this story just goes to show that there is nothing stronger than a mother.