These Are the Biggest Heroes of 2018

From Thai cave divers to civilian fire rescuers, 2018 was full of bold and brave feats.

James Shaw, Jr. was a real life hero when he helped to prevent gun violence. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence)
Getty Images for Brady Campaign

The year 2018 may have been a downer for many, but it was also full of selfless, inspiring acts of heroism — several of which were so uplifting that, dare we say it, may have salvaged this dumpster fire of a year.

Among the heroes of note, according to Time, were the brave souls who ventured into a Thai cave in order to rescue a team of young soccer players. After two weeks spent in the murky darkness, each boy was successfully plucked from the bowels of the cave and returned to safety.

There were also dozens of shootings in 2018 — including one that made a hero out of then 29-year-old AT&T technician, James Shaw Jr. Shaw spring into action at a Nashville-area Waffle House when a gunman opened fire, killed four people and stopped to reload his AR-15. When the gun was pointed at the ground, Shaw tackled the man and wrestled his weapon away from him, likely preventing more injuries and deaths.

The day after the shooting, Shaw started a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $240,000—the majority of which went to the victims’ families, many of whom he’s still in contact with, according to Time.

And as if being one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy wasn’t enough, Tammie Jo Shults became a hero as a civilian as well. When an engine in the Boeing 737 she was operating this past April exploded, Shults kept her cool and piloted the plane down to the ground from 32,000 feet in the air, saving 142 passengers on board. When the blast happened, debris broke a window, killing one passenger inside and tanking the cabin’s pressure. It was the only fatality involving a U.S.-registered commercial passenger air carrier since 2009, Time reported.

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