Fayette County

Past U.S. presidents will honor hurricane ‘hero’ from Lexington

Zachary Dearing
Zachary Dearing

A Hurricane Harvey ‘hero’ from Lexington will be honored by past U.S. presidents at a benefit concert on Saturday.

Zachary Dearing, who moved to Rockport, Texas earlier this year, was at the epicenter of Harvey when it hit his town in August. He was dubbed a hero when he took over a storm shelter and took care of medically fragile displaced residents, as well as others who were in need of basic essentials, despite no medical training.

He’s now helping rebuild the town that was ravaged by the hurricane. But that will take a back seat Saturday when he will be recognized at the “Deep from the Heart: The One America Appeal” benefit concert at Texas A&M University.

Dearing is one of five people who will receive a Point of Light Award, and he will be recognized by all five living former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. The awards are given to honor individuals and groups creating meaningful change to meet community needs, according to its website.

“In the wake of tremendous devastation in my hometown of Houston, what we witnessed was inspiring. Neighborhoods darkened by flood damage were shining with the bright light of neighbors helping neighbors,” Points of Light Chairman Neil Bush said. “When individuals translate common interests into a common cause, they make a difference in the lives of others. That is what these five Daily Point of Light awardees represent.”

The concert, put together by the past presidents, will benefit communities hit by recent natural disasters.

Dearing shared the news on Facebook on Friday and also thanked Points of Light for furthering their purpose of encouraging volunteerism and community action.

Dearing said in a Points of Light blog article that the most rewarding part of his experience has been hearing back from those he and his team helped and feeling their appreciation. He also commented on what he has learned through his experiences.

“I’ve learned or confirmed a lot about myself, but more importantly, I’ve learned that within people there exists inherent goodness,” Dearing said to Points of Light. “When times are at their most dire that goodness shows up. Kind hearts come in many forms.”

The award is just another way people have shown their gratitude toward Dearing. Last month, money was raised to send him and a guest to New York City for a Broadway show. He has also seen a large uptick in donations on his GoFundMe page he created to help finance his feature film.

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson