Hildreth is the definition of what comes from Shelby County

Published 12:05 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


When 13 U.S. soldiers were killed during an attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, Jade Hildreth knew he had to jump into action.

The former Helena High School student from Shelby County and current sophomore at Auburn University didn’t know what to do right away, but he knew the best way to make them proud and honor their legacy was to show his support for their sacrifice.

That’s when Auburn sent out an email asking if anyone was interested in doing just that during the first football game of the season.

Hildreth immediately jumped at the opportunity.

So on Saturday, Sept. 4, Hildreth wasn’t the typical student at the game. Instead, he stood guard along with one other Auburn Air Force ROTC member next to 13 empty seats and 13 pictures of those who died in the attack.

In that moment, he exemplified true leadership and what it means to serve selflessly, which is something that carries on the legacy of what those 13 soldiers left behind.

The most impressive part? He did it because he felt it was his duty.

“Being able to stand for something much larger than yourself, it gives you an overwhelming sense of pride to be a part of that,” Hildreth said.

Those are words that take a mature and special person to realize at such a young age.

And it isn’t something that is new in Shelby County.

It seems like every year, more and more young people are finding ways to make a difference in the lives of others.

Often, we seem to think we are headed downhill as a society because the next generation is changing too much and not as respectful or hardworking as other generations.

Just because they live their lives through social media doesn’t mean they aren’t respectful or hardworking, if anything, it shows they have even less fear.

They aren’t scared to step up and make a difference because they are already used to doing more intimidating parts of life with others watching with expectation.

It may be time to give credit where credit is due and realize we are in good hands moving forward. I mean, after all, we set the stage for the next generation, and now they have more resources to be successful with.

Just like Hildreth, there are so many who would drop everything to help make a difference in life when we need them most.

It’s a reason for us to be hopeful for a society, while our county has a bright future ahead.