U.S. Congress Recognizes Montco Boy Who Died In Fire

A few weeks ago I wrote about a heroic student from Lakeside School who lost his life while attempting to rescue his Dad from their burning home. It was tragic that his Dad escaped and his son, Sanford Harling, did not. 

“Man Man” receives posthumous recognition from Congress

We are so proud and pleased that the United States Congress recognized the heroic act of Sanford (Man Man).  The speech by Representative Brenden Boyle on the floor of Congress is included below. This article was written by Justine Heinze.

(Video: “Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of Sanford Harling III.”)

U.S. Congress honors 12 yr old who died in fire.NORRISTOWN, PA — The Norristown boy who died trying to save his father from a father in February has been honored by U.S. Congress.

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle spoke on behalf of Sanford Harling, calling him courageous and noting that his memory “now resonates well beyond his community.”

The 12-year-old boy who lived on Markley Street, known as “Man Man,” rushed back into a burning home on February 5 because he wanted to rescue his father.

He never made it out.

In a matter of days, tens of thousands of dollars has been raised in Sanford’s name for his family in a GoFundMe campaign that drew attention from across the nation.

Sanford was a member of the Norristown Youth Eagles and played on their 6th grade team in 2015. The Eagles are responsible for launching the fundraiser.

“On the football field, Sanford could be seen cheering on his teammates and praying for them,” the Eagles wrote on Sanford. “Off the field, his personality was bright and comical.”

Although the rest of Sanford’s family survived, they face unimaginable hardship as they cope with the loss of their son and their home, which was destroyed in the fire.

The full text of Boyle’s speech is included below:

“Mr. Speaker I rise today in honor of Sanford Harling III, a widely-known and widely-loved young man from Norristown, Pennsylvania in my district, affectionately known as “Man Man. Sanford tragically died after he selflessly dove back into the flames of his burning home to rescue his father, who had been bedridden while recovering from hip surgery. Unbeknownst to Man Man, his father had already escaped through a second-story window.

Although this courageous 12-year-old never re-emerged from the smoldering ruins of his home, his memory now resonates well beyond his community thanks to his remarkable act of heroism. Although the honor and recognition that Sanford deserves cannot return him to the embrace of his family, perhaps his shining example will inspire other deeds of life-saving bravery and devotion. He will forever be remembered as a hero. I offer my deepest sympathies to the Harling family, and to everyone who knew and cherished this young man’s character.”

In conclusion

We are grieved at the loss of this young man and we extend to his family our prayers and support.  We miss Sanford and are so proud of him and his heroic act.  Our appreciation goes to Representative Boyle for advocating for Sanford and to Congress for granting him this recognition.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

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