Temar Boggs and Chris Garcia helped rescue a five-year-old girl who had been kidnapped in Lancaster, Penn. For their heroic effort, the boys were presented the 2014 Hope Award from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“I just feel normal, like myself. I didn’t care what anybody thought of me of as a hero or anything,” Boggs, 16 told the AFRO before the ceremony began. “I know I did it out of the kindness of my heart. It wasn’t like to be named as a hero or to be called a hero, put on a pedestal or anything. I just did it out of the kindness of my heart.”
In July of 2013, Boggs and Garcia, both 15, took to the streets with their bikes in search of Jocelyn Rojas, who vanished while she was playing in her front yard. Her abductor had reportedly lured her to him with ice cream.
According to news reports, the boys joined 100 first responders who’d already begun the search. When Boggs spotted Rojas in a car, he and Garcia followed until the driver let the little girl go.
Boggs said he had been in the neighborhood to help a woman move her couch and hadn’t realized what was going on until he saw state troopers in the area.
According to the Black & Missing Foundation in Landover, Md. a total of 240,411 minorities States out of 627,911 for all races were reported missing in the U.S. in 2013.
Following a motto he learned from his grandfather to “never fear men that will bleed too,” Boggs said he was not afraid of saving the young girl.
“Always listen to your gut, follow what you were told and how you were brought up,” he told the AFRO. “Even if you were brought in a different way or different household to still do the positive thing and be a positive figure in your community.”
Boggs is an avid church-goer, and said his actions only followed his mother’s advice to always help others.
Tamika Boggs, 46 told the AFRO she is thankful her son was able to selflessly give of himself to others.
The boys received the awards with eight other people including Amanda Berry and Georgina DeJesus, two of the three women who escaped from a Cleveland home after having been held captive for about 10 years; Daniel M. Snyder and Tanya Snyder, prominent community leaders and philanthropists; Sean Goldman, an international abduction victim and David Goldman, his father who searched tirelessly to bring his son back to the U.S.; Meredith Vieira, a 14-time Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist, television host, and moderator who worked extensively to bring needed attention to cases of missing and exploited children; and Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, a 43-year veteran of the New York Police Department and the first person to hold the position of police commissioner of the City of New York who has been a vital supporter of NCMEC.
The awards ceremony and dinner for NCMEC was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Northwest D.C. Celebrities, police officers and private businesses representatives from across the country attended.
Over $1.3 million was raised at the event to help rescue missing and exploited children.