Zane Leake, 11, and Jacob Miller, 10, are best friends who share a special bond. Last year, Jacob was diagnosed with cancer, news that was devastating to Zane, who was still dealing with the lost of his cousin and other best friend, Memphis Riker. Memphis lost his battle after fighting cancer just over two years ago.
"The first thing Zane asked was if Jacob was going to die like Memphis," said Tommi Hamilton, Zane's grandmother. "He really struggles with the loss of Memphis and now dealing with the thought Jacob going through this is so much for him."
The Tuesday after Easter, both boys were outside playing when Jacob asked Zane to go get his mother. But instead of running back to the house, Zane did something very heroic. He told Jacob," I ain't going to leave you," and picked up his friend who had collapsed in a seizure then carried him back to the house. When they got to the house, Jacob was repeatedly saying, "I love you bro," to Zane.
Hamilton said that at first, Tangie Miller, Jacob's mother, thought the boys were just playing.
"Zane just sat there by his side weeping," said Hamilton, who works at the Daviess County Security Center. "I shared this story with Sheriff (Jerry) Harbstreit and he thought it would be nice to do something for Zane."
And do something he did. Harbstreit was so inspired by Zane's bravery, he honored Zane with a plaque in recognition of friendship and leading to the finest act of bravery.
"These little kids are heroes," said Harbstreit, speaking to standing-room only audience, his voice raw with emotion. "I love these little boys like they are my own family."
Normally, the outgoing one of the two boys, Zane was stricken with emotion as Harbstreit told those in attendance what the fifth grader had done for his friend.