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The Heroes Who Restored Our Faith in Humanity in 2018

If you're still holding out for a hero this 2018, look no further. Here's a round up of some of this year's headline-making extraordinary acts.

Thai Cave Rescue Team

Few will have forgotten the story of how the Wild Boars soccer team, along with their coach, disappeared into the complex Tham Luang Cave system after monsoon rains flooded its passageways.

Webb says he imagines the boys will be keeping each other's spirits up. Photo: Thai Navy SEALS.

Discovered nine days later, a race against time and weather quickly ensued to bring the group safely back to the surface.

From the international rescue effort which included divers, doctors and military experts, multiple heroes emerged.

"The martyr of the cave," said the Thai Navy SEALs.

Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL who had come out of retirement to help, tragically died inside the cave from a lack of oxygen.

As tributes flowed in for Kunan, he was hailed a hero for the selfless act which ultimately cost him his life.

Dr Richard Harris, an anesthetist from Adelaide, was also a significant figure recognised for his hero work.

Harris was the last out of the cave after being tasked with giving the medical all-clear for each mission to save the boys, and was considered crucial to the entire rescue effort.

Dr Richard Harris and Craig Challen with the medical team looking after the Wild Boars. Photo: Handout.
Bourke St Trolley Man

Michael Rogers, a 46-year-old homeless man, was filmed twice trying to ram Hassan Khalif Shire Ali as he wielded a knife at police, was heralded a hero for his efforts during the terror attack. 

Shire Ali stabbed three people during a deadly terror attack before police fatally shot him in the chest.

Dubbed 'Trolley Man', Rogers garnered huge national attention following the incident, with a GoFundMe campaign raising more than $100,000 for this "incredible man" who "put his own life at risk to stop a terrorist".

Unfortunately, less than a week later it was revealed Rogers was wanted by Melbourne Police over burglaries and breaching his bail conditions. He turned himself into police a short time after, thus leaving his hero status on rather tenuous grounds.

Baby-Saving Spiderman

Incredible footage of a man scaling a building in Paris to rescue a young child who was seen dangling from a balcony was the type of heroism usually reserved for Hollywood films.

Mamoudou Gassama, dubbed a real life spiderman, made his way up the balconies of four storeys in less than a minute to hoist the four-year-old boy to safety.

A Four-Year-Old Is Rescued After Dangling From The Fourth Floor of a Building

Gassama, an immigrant from Mali, was thanked for his "exceptional act", quickly granted a meeting at the Elysee Palace and offered French citizenship. 

"What you have done corresponds with what firefighters do. If this fits your wishes, you could join the firefighters' corps so that you can do [such acts] on a daily basis," French President Emmanuel Macron said during their meeting.

Baby-Shielding Mother

When gigantic hailstones smashed through her rear car window, showering her young baby with glass and ice, Fiona Simpson immediately acted to save her child.

She dived into the back seat to shield her baby girl from the hail which was lashing southern Queensland at the time -- reported in some cases to be the size of tennis balls.

Simpson suffered serious bruising when she dived into the back seat to protect her child. Image: Facebook/Fiona Simpson

With her back, arms and head exposed, the relentless hail left Simpson's body badly bruised.

"I couldn’t focus on the pain, all I could focus on was just laying over the top of her and protecting her from the hail, there wasn’t really time to worry about anything else," Simpson told 10 News First.

Life-Saving Pups

From a blue heeler with a heart of gold to a rattlesnake-fighting golden retriever, the year also delivered a number of Very Good Boy heroes.

In May, Max -- who was deaf and partially blind -- was given Queensland's first honorary police dog medal for coming to the rescue of three-year-old Aurora, who had wondered off her family's property.

Max, mighty Max, found and kept the toddler safe and warm throughout a cold and drizzly night in the bush before they were found by the child's grandmother.

Two months later over in Arizona, a Golden Retriever named Todd jumped in between his owner and a fired up rattlesnake during a walk. 

Todd took a nasty bite on the snout -- which would have otherwise been for his owner -- but was thankfully treated in time at a local animal hospital.

OTHER Special Mentions

The word 'hero' can mean different things to different people, so here's a few of the noteworthy entrants who didn't exactly save a life.

Robert French, the seven-year-old kid who literally made a business out of selling tourists in North Queensland cow poo. Hero/legend, tomato/tomarto.

Image: 10 News First

Jevh Maravilla, who managed to put up a fake advertisement featuring himself at a McDonald's in Houston without arousing any suspicion from workers for weeks.

And finally, an honourable mention for the NRL media team, who expertly shut down a homophobic comment made on the now-famous image of girlfriends Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki kissing after the women's State of Origin.

Contact the author vquested@networkten.com.au

Featured image: supplied