For a while after the tragedy of Aug. 4, 1982, Shay Eskew didn’t remember—or want to remember—what happened that day.
But as time went on, especially when he began to give inspirational speeches, the mental images resurfaced.
His 15-year-old neighbor asking Eskew, who was 8, and his 7-year-old friend to help her get rid of a yellow jacket nest.
The neighbor throwing a match on the nest.
The neighbor then tossing gasoline in the nest’s direction.
The gasoline accidentally landing on Eskew, his friend and the match, sending the boys’ bodies aflame.
Eskew rolling on the ground to extinguish the flames while his friend stood there, screaming in pain.
Eskew hosing his friend down to stop the fire.
“For the longest time, I refused to acknowledge that I was a burn survivor because I was afraid that would limit what I could achieve,” said Eskew, now 38. “I just kept