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Josh Valdes, A Southern Gentleman Abroad

by Jolina St. Pierre | Jun 07, 2019

Josh Valdes and unidentified woman
Photo Caption: Josh Valdes, pictured with unidentified Greek woman he carried down the mountainside to safety.

Southern values became a tale of Greek heroics during a study abroad trip for Columbia State Community College student, Josh Valdes during a recent visit to Mystras, Greece. Exemplifying respect and kindness, Valdes provided extraordinary assistance to an elderly woman, unable to descend on her own, by quite literally carrying her down a mountain to safety.

During their visit, several students climbed the ancient steps to explore a cathedral located atop the mountain. Once there, they came upon an elderly woman who had fallen and was unable to make the treacherous walk down. With no other assistance available, Valdes stepped in to help. But how to help someone down a mountain when they are unable to walk? The solution was simple: a piggyback ride.

"It was incredible," Valdes explained. "She said a Greek prayer in my ear as I carried her and was so grateful to get back down."

Once to the bottom, the woman attempted to walk while escorted by Valdes and fellow study abroad student Isaiah Hackworth, a nursing student at Pellissippi State Community College. However, even that proved too much, so Valdes scooped her into his arms to carry her the remaining distance to her bus.

It's not every day that one can truly act as a hero for someone in need, but when that moment arose, Valdes didn't hesitate to rush to the rescue. In doing so, he shared a bit of Tennessee’s volunteer spirit through his generosity and kindness to a stranger. In return, his actions surpassed barriers of age, ability and language to establish a common thread of humanity halfway around the world. On that day, Josh Valdes was a hero to a person in need of rescue and an exemplar of the best of Columbia State.

Mystras Greece Mountainside
Photo Caption:
Mystras, built around 1249 by the Franks, was the seat of the Byzantine empire, and the site rises more than 2,034 feet with buildings nestled within the mountainside. Though lined with walkways, the path consists of broken, slick marble steps that make maneuvering risky.

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