Fifteen-year-old Anthony Borges is being credited with saving the lives of at least 20 of his fellow Marjory Stoneman Douglas High classmates. His friend said the two hid as soon as they heard shots, but that Borges “took the initiative to just save his other classmates.” He was shot five times in the process, through both legs and his back, according to a fundraising page. Borges and his family are all immigrants originally from Venezuela:
Moved by the Florida student’s actions, U.S. soccer player Landon Donovan rallied his soccer fans to donate to help the teenager’s family.
“One of our own was a hero last week and needs our help,” Donovan wrote on his Twitter account.
Borges’ GoFundMe had raised more than $446,000 as of Tuesday afternoon from nearly 14,000 donations. The legitimacy of the fundraising page was confirmed by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
The hospital says it can’t release any details on his condition. It says only that he and three other injured victims from the shooting recovering at Broward Health hospitals are all in “fair condition.” The Sheriff’s Office says that he “has a long road ahead with more surgeries needed.”
Borges isn’t the only immigrant youth being hailed as a hero during those horrific moments at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Martin Duque, a Mexican immigrant and cadet in the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, is being presented with the Medal of Heroism by the United States Army, an honor awarded to a JROTC cadet "who performs an act of heroism." Martin, only 14-years-old, was killed.
According to one local report, Duque was one of five siblings with parents who work in agriculture near Parkland. The family came from a small town of barely 7,500 people in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Duque’s uncle Libni Ortega said the family knew the boy was one of the missing immediately after the shooting, but saw his death confirmed when “they saw his photo during a TV news report on Thursday.”
"That happened in a place where you think it's a safe place. A school. Shouldn't be happening," Ortega commented, saying that the boy’s mother is in a “very bad” condition. "When my wife knew about that, she started crying and get sad. Start to feel bad. She let me know what was going on. I feel the same. I feel the same right now."
Another JROTC cadet being honored with the Medal of Heroism by the United States Army is Peter Wang, the son of Chinese immigrants. Wang was shot and killed as he held a door for others to escape. For his heroism, the United States Military Academy at West Point announced that it would honor Wang’s dream of attending the academy by posthumously offering him a letter of acceptance to the school.
"The achievement must be an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding that it clearly sets the individual apart from fellow students or from other persons in similar circumstances," the U.S. Army said in a statement. "The performance must have involved the acceptance of danger and extraordinary responsibilities, exemplifying praiseworthy fortitude and courage."
The family of Alaina Petty, the third cadet honored by the U.S. Army with the Medal of Heroism, was presented with her honor at her funeral. “You could not escape her innate sense right and wrong,” said her dad Ryan Petty, “but you never felt that she was judging you.”
Another immigrant student, Joaquin Oliver, became a citizen of this country just last year after coming to the U.S. from Venezuela with his family 14 years ago. His Instagram account is like one belonging to any other teen his age and includes pictures from the time when he and his family were sworn in as citizens.
One photo caption: "MAMA WE MADE IT!!!! 14 years ago we move to this wonderful country and 14 years later we officially are citizens of the United States of America. Never been more proud."