Alex Harris was a young man with a bright future ahead of him. The eighteen-year-old graduated from high school this year, and was on track to continue helping his dad, Tyson Harris, with the family business. They ran an outfitter business together.
Alex was the oldest of four. He and his dad shared a precious father-son bond, and running the family business together kept that strong and growing.
“We’d drive to work together every morning — a 15-minute drive and I really looked forward to it. We’d listen to music and talk about stuff. Every morning I expect him to be here. I’ll sit around and wait a little bit like maybe he’s coming,” Tyson Harris told NBC’s TODAY.
The family of six typically vacationed along the Missouri River area near Payne’s Landing in Forest City, Missouri. The popular camping area boasts of being an outdoor lover’s dream because of how much there is to do: fishing, boating, hiking, golfing and more.
Unfortunately, their vacation last month ended in a horrible tragedy.
The family told FOX Television Stations that Alex and his younger siblings, Haisley and Asher, were standing in a shallow area of the water together.
“The sand sunk from below Asher and [he] was pulled into a current. Alex grabbed Asher to keep him,” said the children’s mother, Nikki.
That gave her a chance to grab 4-year-old Asher, but then she also got pulled into the current.
Alex then reached for his 6-year-old sister, Haisley. Their dad and 8-year-old Emre were making their way toward Alex and Haisley when they, too, got caught in the current.
Everyone except Alex managed to get out of the rushing water and make their way to a boat.
Shortly after that, physically exhausted Alex was overtaken by the current.
“I watched his hands let go and he sank,” said his mother.
The family called 911 and searched for him, but sadly, he didn’t survive.
His family considers him to be a hero, and credits him with saving the life of his younger brother.
Alex’s dad said in a July 24th Facebook post, “My son Alex passed away yesterday saving his little brother in a drowning accident. If it hadn’t of been for him keeping him up until his mother got there they would both be gone. I love you son and I wish every second I could take your place. You are a hero son.”
The death of a child is the most emotionally painful experience any parent can have. This pain is not something that has to be endured alone.
If you’re walking through the loss of a child, spouse, or the difficult loss of any loved one, GriefShare is a Biblically based support group with a national reach. You can find a group near you by visiting their website: www.griefshare.org.