An American woman never learned what happened to her husband, whose plane was shot down over Les Ventes, France during WWII. She finally got her congressman to reopen his case in 2011. She was shocked to learn the town had been memorializing him and his sacrifice for 67 years.
A Pizza Hut manager during the Joplin tornado saved many lives by herding customers into a walk in freezer and bungee cording his arm to the freezer door before being sucked into the tornado and killed.
In 2014, an 8-year-old boy named Tyler Doohan, saved 6 members of his family from his burning house before finally succumbing to the fire himself while trying to save the last victim, his disabled grandfather.
In WW2, the right wing of Wellington bomber was set afire by a Germans. The pilot James Allan Ward took a canvas cover, crawled onto the wing in mid-flight and put the fire out. His plane landed safely back in Great Britain.
In 1992 an inflatable bouncy castle took flight with 5 children inside. To save them, a 21 year-old man grabbed one of the trailing ropes, climbed up to the castle 15 meters in the air and pulled each child out, before losing his grip and falling through the canvas roof of a dodgems tent. He survived but suffered an electric shock from the dodgems, while also sustaining a leg injury that required 52 stitches.
One French-Canadian soldier liberated the entire Dutch town of Zwolle during the course of an action-packed night in 1944, burning down Gestapo HQ and taking more than 100 German soldiers prisoner
In 1907 a Mexican railroad worker named Jesus Garcia saved an entire mining town by jumping onto a burning train loaded with dynamite. Realizing the fire was spreading, he drove the train in reverse downhill at full-steam for 6km before the dynamite exploded, killing him but sparing the town.
An 8 year old named Tyler Doohan saved 6 people from his burning house before finally succumbing to the fire himself while trying to save the last victim, his disabled grandfather. They were best friends.
Albert Battel, a German officer serving in the Wehrmacht during WWII, commanded his whole unit to protect Jews and threatened the SS to kill them if they crossed a bridge into a Jewish ghetto to round them up.
Minutes before the Halifax Explosion, (one of the largest non-nuclear, man-made explosions) a dispatcher named Vince Coleman returned to his station to send a warning telegram, saving 300 lives at the cost of his own.