Dad thanks 'hero' for saving his life
"You have a hero in your school, and his name is Chris."
For Invercargill solo dad Marty Keen, it was important to show Ruru Specialist School pupil Chris Bode's classmates how much he appreciated their friend - and so he did.
Mr Keen met pupils yesterday at a short ceremony at the school, where he thanked Mr Bode, 20, for his help in scaring off attackers who left him bloodied and beaten in Russell Square on October 28.
Mr Bode, along with another man, came running after hearing shouts for help coming from the park in the early hours of the morning. They found Mr Keen being attacked by a group of up to seven teenagers, who fled the scene.
Tucked into a hamper of donated groceries was a card signed by Mr Keen's children, with a brief but poignant message - "Thanks for saving my dad".
Mr Bode was also showered with praise from his fellow classmates and principal Erin Cairns, who presented him with a certificate recognising his "courage and heroism".
Mr Bode said he had simply done what was right.
"I was just very happy that I was there that night to save you."
Outside in the welcome sunshine, the pair embraced.
"I feel so privileged that I can meet the person who saved my life, and give him something to show him my appreciation. In my eyes, it doesn't seem much but I've got to give you something," Mr Keen told his hero.
"You being here is enough," Mr Bode replied.
- The Southland Times