Local hero who saved woman from burning building credits mom for guiding him

Annapolis, Md. (WMAR) -

Fighting back flames and smoke to save an elderly woman trapped in her burning home.

20-year-old Tre Williams from Glen Burnie, honored for the selfless act that saved an 80-year old woman’s life.

RELATED: Good Samaritan saves 80-year-old woman from fire

Community members packed into the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center to give their new hero a standing ovation and the first ever “Malcolm X Hero Award”.

Williams first thanked his mother for instilling a moral compass guiding him to help those in need.

“Taking their trash or opening the door she always made sure we did it and I just want to thank her for teaching me those little things because I was able to help somebody in a big way,” Tre said.

That person was 80-year-old Gail Johnston who Tre heard calling for help.

“The fire started growing it got to the top of the house,” Tre said. “That’s when I saw her trying to get out the door, so it was just instinct to go help.”

He put his arm around her like he’d done so many times, helping someone out in need.

Latonya Williams went through a lot of emotions when she heard what her son did—pride, worry, but she was never surprised.

“To me, he’s still my little boy, but when I saw him there I saw him being a young man and I know he will do great,” Latonya said.

Carl Snowden, the Convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders called him a shining example to combat the negative stereotype of young African American men.

“Despite the potential for damage to himself, he showed no fear.  He went in and did the brave thing of bringing her out.”

The first ever Malcolm X Hero Award Recipient.

“People like Malcolm X Martin Luther King Jr. would have been proud of Tre Williams. He’s the kind of person that they died for because he’s the kind of person they knew would come into being somebody that represents our generation and represent it well.”

He didn’t want recognition or to be called a hero. But he’s learning to embrace something we can all use more of, a positive a role model.

“It’s bigger than just me, “Tre said. “It can show a lot of other people that this is what you’re supposed to do and give them a positive view instead of just seeing all these negative things that young people are doing. I was just glad I could set an example.”

The Williams family said they now have a lifelong connection with the family of the woman that Tre saved.

They hope to continue to help them while they recover from losing their home.

Tre is currently enrolled at Anne Arundel Community College.

He plans to become an occupational therapist because he likes helping people.

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