It’s often recommended to befriend the enemy, but high school freshman Xavier Staubs did more than that. He saved his life.
At a swim meet on January 4, the 15-year-old Michigan boy helped rescue a rival who was struggling under water.
Xavier, who attends Corunna High School, noticed his competitor sinking to the bottom of the pool after they each completed their race. Without hesitation, Xavier dived right in and helped get the other swimmer out of the pool and into the hands of the paramedics.
His actions got the attention of US Rep. John Moolenaar, who recognized Xavier with a tribute in the Congressional Record.
It started off as a regular home meet.
Xavier had just completed his 200-meter relay. It was the first race of the night and he was confident, as always.
“I don’t really get scared or excited before a meet,” he told CNN. “Only excited as it’s happening.”
As he was resting, he noticed that a boy in an adjoining lane was drowning.
“My adrenaline was flowing,” Xavier said. “I heard a bunch of people screaming, and I look down and I see him underneath.”
He dived back into the pool and pulled the boy out to safety.
Fortunately, the boy didn’t need CPR. He started breathing on his own.
At lunchtime Tuesday, Xavier learned that the congressman for his district was coming to meet him. Moolenaar wanted to present him with a recognition that would be kept on record in the Library of Congress.
“We heard the story at various stages about what he had done. And the more I learned about it, the more I thought we really wanted to recognize what he did,” the Republican told CNN.
Moolenaar presented Xavier with a notation the lawmaker had placed in the Congressional Record, noting his actions. The notation will remain in the National Archives.
“Usually, you’re hearing about tragedies and sad situations,” Moolenaar said. “This was such a powerful example of one student helping another even though they were competitors.”
Xavier’s mother, Jillian Staubs, however, said she was not surprised.
She arrived at the meet five minutes after the rescue happened, right behind the ambulance and police cars. Something in her gut told her that her son was somehow involved.
Staubs said she tries to raise her children like her grandmother raised her. And Xavier performing such a selfless act was something she’s used to hearing about.
“I instill old-school values in my kids,” she said. “There are so many kids today who always just think about themselves.”
Xavier is not only a varsity swimmer but also a dancer, varsity soccer player, tutor, band member and a straight-A student.
And now, a hero.