TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa teenager is being hailed as a hero after he saved the Tulsa Boys’ Home and multiple therapy horses from a fire.
Tulsa Boys' Home executive director Gregg Conway says with out Xander Risenhoover's quick thinking, it would have been devastating.
"He really did save the day," Conway said. "A lot of our Tulsa Boys' Home Campus would have been on fire."
In addition to providing a safe, stable environment, the Tulsa Boys’ Home has 37 therapy horses for the boys to help them triumph over trauma.
Tulsa Boys’ home faculty member, Kaycee Aragon says the fire would have destroyed more than just buildings and a pasture.
“We have 64 boys that live here and 40 of them have no other place to go, so this is a place of hope for them,” Aragon said. “This could have been catastrophic, and they would have lost everything all over again.”
It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, when Boys' Home 16-year-old resident, Risenhoover, noticed something was off.
“He has been working in the stables for a while, and he always goes above and beyond,” Aragon said.
"I come here every day," Risenhoover said. "I like coming here, it's relaxing and fun."
He was feeding the therapy horse, when he noticed the electrical transporter on their campus started to spark, which caused the power-line to come lose and set the grass on fire in multiple places.
He immediately called the Tulsa Fire Department and then started to stomp out the fires himself.
"It’s something that I just knew I had to do instead of just waiting for someone to come," Risenhoover said.
When firefighters arrived, Risenhoover helped move the horses to a safe area.
“We see him as a hero for doing this,” Aragon said. “He just says it was the right thing to do, that’s just the kind of kid that he is.”
Risenhoover says he doesn't mind the title of 'Hero,' but he says he was not going to let anything happen to his favorite place.
"I can say this place helped me because there are things in my life that I can't change or things in the future I can't change but being around these horses has made me okay with that," Rinsenhoover said. "It's a really good place that helps a lot of kids with their anger and stuff so it's just a place that needs to be here."
The Tulsa Boy's Home was established in 1918.
"The boys that come here have been to 20 or 30 failed foster homes," Conway said. "They come from some of the most broken and horrific homes and circumstances."
The staff's main goal is to rebuild that boys that come to them so they can grow to be successful young men who can hopefully be adopted into a permanent family.
The Home incorporated horses in their therapy 16 years ago.
"There's something about the relationship that these boys have with these horses that helps them learn to trust again," Conway said.
The Home is a non-profit that depends on donations to help boys overcome past trauma and drug addiction.
If you would like to learn more about their programs, volunteer, or donate, click here.
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