The day after their first Christmas without him, Zaevion Dobson's family will bury the 15-year-old high school sophomore who died last week as senselessly as he did selflessly. "It was an honor for my son to protect another individual," says mom Zenobia Dobson of her youngest, who threw himself on top of three girls to shield them as shots rang out in Knoxville on Thursday evening. "He died laying on top of me," tweeted one of the girls, Faith Gordon, per the Knoxville News Sentinel. "That's my brother. Rest easy, Zae. I'll never forget you." Zaevion's older brother, Zack, was there, reports CBS News. "I picked him up, and I sat him in my arms, and I was shaking him, and I was like, 'I love you, wake up, I need you, wake up,'" says the high school junior.
Says a neighbor of the family, "most children that age would have ran. He didn't. He saved lives." She adds that the football standout was one of three sons who were "the kind of boys who get up and go to church, get up and go to school, you don't have to pressure them to do the right thing." The praise for Zaevion is universal, with his coach calling him "a great kid, a guy that worked harder than anybody, it seemed like, and a guy that made the right choices. That gave him a chance to be successful, and he is a success story." A GoFundMe page for the family is closing in on its current goal of $45,000. (Read more Knoxville stories.)