Christmas with the Maynors': Community donates gifts to family of man who died saving drowning boy

Posted at 7:35 AM, Dec 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-25 07:33:46-05

THOMASVILLE, GA (WTXL) - For many of us, the holidays are about spending time with the family.

This Christmas is a bittersweet one, for a Thomasville family dealing with the loss of a loved one. That community has come together to spread some joy in their lives.

The tree is decorated for Christmas at the Maynor's home in Thomasville, just as it was last year.

"It's my dad and BJ last Christmas. He broke his foot playing basketball with the kids," said Amber Maynor, wife of Bruce Maynor.

Amber Maynor said her husband of 7 years, B.J. short for Bruce was a father to their two little girls, Makayla and Morgan.

"We outnumbered him, but he didn't mind it," said Amber.

Together, they took frequent trips to the beach, often accompanied by family and friends.

"St. George Island was our happy place." said Amber.

But what happened April 30th, 2017 was unimaginable.

It was supposed to be a normal day at the beach at St. George Island for the Maynor family. Things turned tragic when Bruce Maynor noticed his friends' son struggling to keep his head above water.

Bruce Maynor jumped into the waters.

"I couldn't touch the ground. I started panicking," said Jaylen Walden, who was rescued by Bruce Maynor.

11-year-old Jaylen Walden says Bruce Maynor taught him how to play football. He also saved his life.

"Every time a big wave came over me. He pushed me up, pushed me up out of the water so I can breathe. He saved me from drowning," said Walden.

Witnesses on the beach that day said Maynor scarified his life for another.

"He jumped out there with no hesitation," said Amber Maynor.

"We understand how difficult this time is going to be for her," said Bebe Thedford, Director of child care YMCA Thomasville.

It's been 8 months since Bruce Maynor drowned at St. George Island.

Amber is a child care teacher at the YMCA. Her co-workers and other members of the community decided to do something special for them.

"We put Makayla and Morgan on our Christmas tree and we're getting gifts left and right," said Thedford.

Ornaments with their names hang on the Santa tree.

Bebe Thedford knows presents don't even come close to making up for the loss of a parent, but at the very least they wanted to give the girls something to smile about this Christmas.

When WTXL's Christine Souders asked what 9-year-old Morgan Maynor wanted for christmas she said this... "I wish he came back," said Morgan Maynor, daughter of Bruce Maynor.

It's heartbreaking, but Amber Maynor said they all find comfort in knowing her husband, their father, is a hero

"He's like Superman," said Morgan Maynor.