In these tumultuous times, stories of selfless Samaritans are almost always drowned out by the seemingly endless stream of headlines involving senseless violence.

While it might not seem like it, heroes do still exist. We just have to look a little harder to find them. Michael Brady was one such hero.

Last Friday afternoon, Brady was walking down Tunnel Boulevard when he noticed a fire on the roof of Moss’ Place restaurant. Feeling compelled to help a neighbor in need, Brady ran to the business next door to alert them to the situation and ask for a fire extinguisher. 

After being handed a portable extinguisher, Brady ran back over to Moss’ Place, grabbed a ladder and climbed to the roof to put out the fire. When Chattanooga police and firefighters arrived on the scene minutes later, Brady yelled down to them to let them know he had already extinguished the blaze.

Then, tragedy struck. 

As Brady was climbing back down from the roof, firefighters and police saw him make contact with a live power line and fall to the ground. Firefighters had to call EPB to ask them to cut power to the line before they could even approach Brady, and by the time they finally did reach him, it was too late. Brady was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 48 years old.

Though police and fire investigators are still gathering details about the incident, there is no mystery about the character of the man who tragically died that day.

Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner praised Brady, saying he “was attempting to help out, to do the right thing.” Neighbors who converged on the scene after the accident echoed Garner’s sentiments, saying Brady was known for helping people whenever and however he could.

“That’s what he [did],” said Anthony Timmon, a longtime friend of Brady’s. “He helped a lot of people out.”

Another one of Brady’s friends, Cecil Calloway, said Brady would be greatly missed by the people of Pin Oaks and Eastdale. 

“He died helping, like he always did,” said Calloway.

“Ain’t no homicide or nothing … That man died trying to help somebody,” said Brady’s cousin Tracy Jones. “He died a hero.”

Jones is right: Brady was a hero. And Garner was right to call his loss a “real tragedy.”

Brady should have been rewarded for his selflessness. Instead, it cost him everything.

If there’s a silver lining in Brady’s tragic death, it’s that it has shined a light on the triumph that was his life. May we all do more to live up to his example.

Former Chattanooga Pulse Editor Bill Colrus writes about (in no particular order) local news, culture, music and media. You can find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or reach him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.