Editor's note: When The Advocate put out the call for heroes of the Cajun Navy, more than 175 of you responded with stories of unbelievable bravery. In addition to praise for courageous first responders, there were many, many stories of uncommon valor by ordinary men and women, who helped save others with no thought to their own personal safety. There is no doubt, all are true heroes. This week, The Advocate is spotlighting those who will be honored at the Red Stick Together concert on Sunday, Sept. 25, in downtown Baton Rouge.
Mark Thibidaux, wrote in about Scott Ayers, of Houma.
"I stopped at a store this morning as I do each Sunday on my way to church, and, as usual, I purchased a Sunday paper. When I got home (camper trailer due to the flood ) I began to read and was taken back to the day that a young man saved me and my family during the recent flood. His name was Scott Ayers, I will never forget how he remained calm, gave us water, food, a shoulder to cry on and, most importantly, showed what a true Louisiana native is all about — compassion, respect and Cajun honor!
"My family and I had been on the roof of our house for 16 hours, and it was dark. To be honest, I was beginning to become scared that no one was coming. That's when we saw his boat idling through the trees and houses with a spotlight and a bullhorn calling for people that could hear him to let them know help was here and we had not been forgotten about.
"When you see these type of things it is normally in a movie, and the star is calm and in command (because he has to only hear "cut " and go back to safety off set). Scott was extremely calm, comforting to our children, us and even our black lab Zeus. When everything we had known as a family was destroyed — baby pictures, wedding pictures, etc. — Scott was the rock we needed to remind us that it is going to be OK, that memories can be made again, that material things can be replaced, but our family was safe again and still together!
"My wife, Tammy, offered to pay him for the rescue, and his response is something we will never forget as long as we live. 'I don't want your money ma'am, I just want y'all to remember that down here we don't turn our backs on our neighbors in time of need. This is a bad deal, but we as a community are stronger than any floodwaters, winds or whatever else is thrown at us. We will come back from this and come back bigger and better than ever.'
"Great words from a soft-spoken hero!
"I tried to thank Scott after we got off the boat and he helped us unload the bags, but he had already pushed off and was heading back out into the darkness to help others.
"I found out later that he is a professional fisherman and considered by many as a celebrity, and that he also devotes his time to the community that he was working so hard to serve during this disaster with High School Fishing Teams and a Back the Blue Campaign for the law enforcement community in the wake of the tragedy of July.
"So in answer to your front page request, I nominate Scott Ayers as my Cajun Navy Hero."