By Robbie Owens

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Cris and Misty Vento speak lovingly of all of their children. There’s eleven-year-old Jade, 8-year-old Brooklyn… and of course, Xander.

“We love all three of our children, but there was something unique about Xander,” says Cris. “From the time he was a baby, he just seemed like an old soul,” adds mom Misty.

On August 6th, Xander was playing in a Fort Worth pool with a family friend. With adults just steps away, the three year old little girl slipped beneath the surface.

“He didn’t like water on his face… he was afraid of getting his face wet,” says Misty. “But, immediately, what he did was push her up… which caused him to go down. What people don’t understand is that it was silent– there was no splashing, there was no yelling. His instinct was to help his friend.”

His friend survived… but, Xander did not. He was, his Dad says, the little man that he had raised.

“When I got to the hospital, I didn’t ask ‘Misty — did he really do that? I had no doubt in my mind that that would be something that he would do. He did what I hoped he would do for his sisters, which is be the protector.”

A friend later told the couple that Xander’s name means ‘protector of man’. But, on this fateful day, it was a three year old girl whose life was saved by a playmate.

Misty admits that both moms are struggling with grief, and guilt.

“She’s faced with, ‘I have my child and you do not’. I tell her: that’s not your fault.”
“If we truly believe that things happen for a reason, there’s no reason for us to feel any animosity towards them at all… which we don’t,” adds Cris. “As a parent, I want him back.. but, I understand, ya know.”

And Xander’s life-saving heroics would not end in the pool. Others would be saved through organ donation.

“Misty and I didn’t have to think about it at all… we felt that what he did to save his little friend, we wanted to carry on his legacy.”

The couple has already received a note from a 31-year-old Houston woman whose life was saved through Xander’s gift.”

Every time we get a letter it’s very emotional,” says Misty, whose green eyes glisten with unshed tears. “We think how proud we are to be his parents.”

The couple says as Xander’s story has spread, they’ve received wonderfully supportive messages from around the world — even from a Marine.

“The greatest thing that has helped us, is knowing that so many people were touched by his story,” says Misty. “It’s very humbling.”

They say they are especially comforted by those messages that say the writer has been encouraged to become a better parent… a better person.

“That’s what we are meant to do as people,” says Cris. “We should be giving as much as we can to others and what better way to do that than through LifeGift and organ donation.”

“The tragedy is not our choice,” adds Misty. “But what is our choice is what we do after that… if we can help and bless other people, that’s what we want to do.”

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