by Rick White

This content is part of a series.

Turning Point
Series: What's Gone Wrong With The Harvest?
Rick White
John 4

Introduction: It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in California's Santa Ana Mountains when Susan Small and her five-year-old daughter, Laura, wandered down to a pond to watch tadpoles dart around the murky water.

Suddenly, a mountain lion sprang from the bushes and pounced on Laura, knocking her down, grabbing her head in its mouth, and dragging her away into the thick underbrush. They disappeared before Mr. Small could even manage to scream for help.

About 200 yards away, a hiker named Greg Ysais heard the cry and came running. Without hesitating, he plunged through the bushes in search for the child-and instantly came face-to-face with the growling mountain lion, which was holding little Laura by the neck.

Greg had to think quickly. He tore a small limb from a dead tree and advanced toward the animal, yelling and trying to poke it in the eye. The mountain lion growled and swatted at him. For several tense moments, there was a stand-off. Would the enraged lion rip Laura apart? Would it lunge for Greg?

Slowly, the animal loosened its grip on the child, and her limp body dropped to the ground. It looked as if the lion was going to attack Greg, but he kept fending it off with the branch. Finally, the mountain lion turned and fled into the bushes, and Mrs. Small rushed over to pick up her child, who was injured but still alive. Greg Ysais, a thirty-six-year-old electronic technician, was a hero. In almost a reflective reaction, he made a heroic choice to save that child. And Mrs. Small's grateful response was understandable. "We'll never forget what Greg did for us."

Transition: What qualities does Greg Ysais share with other heroes whose stories we read about in the paper? They are all ordinary people who came to a critical turning point and made and extraordinary decision to rescue someone whose life was in danger. Many times that involves putting th ...

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