By Ed Brock
Being a hero has done wonders for Kevonte Slaughter's self-confidence.
"His grades have just shot up," said 9-year-old Kevonte's mother Kina Slaughter.
On March 27 Kevonte's friend 12-year-old Josh Loyd was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull terrier on River Park Drive in Riverdale. Kevonte came to Josh's aid after the dog's owners pulled Josh and the dog apart. Kevonte wrapped Josh's torn scalp with his T-shirt, perhaps stopping him from bleeding to death.
"I just figured it out," Kevonte said a few days after the attack. "We didn't have any bandages so I had to think fast."
Now more than a month has passed since the attack. The dog that attacked Josh has been killed and a full head of hair hides most of the scars on Josh's scalp.
"I still lose a lot of nights of sleep," said Josh's mother Lisa Thompson. "Josh still doesn't sleep that well, but at least he's alive to do that with me."
On Monday the Riverdale City Council and the city's police department honored both boys, giving them balloons, goody-bags full of toys and free bicycles that they will pick up on Saturday.
"It was great," Kevonte said. "I just want to open all the stuff up and see what I have."
Josh said all the extra gifts were good, but they weren't the most important thing he had to celebrate.
"It wouldn't have changed a thing if it was just an award," Josh said. "At least I have my life."
Kevonte and Josh did also receive good citizens' awards from the council.
"That was the most important thing to him," Kina Slaughter said. "The plaque that said ?Bravery.'"
After the meeting the two boys talked together, Kevonte assuring Josh that his injuries were healing well.
"I think they have a special bond going," Thompson said.
Following the attack Josh needed nearly 50 surgical staples on his head and shoulders. He also suffered to fractured fingers.
Seeing the injuries inflicted on her son was horrible, Thompson said, but she couldn't show her feelings to him.
"I had to be strong for him," Thompson said.
Josh had played with the dog that attacked him earlier in the day and it had been relatively friendly, Riverdale police Officer Debra Johnson said, but when he came back alone later that day it turned aggressive.
Johnson said she was very impressed by the maturity of both boys.
"Just that a 9-year-old boy had the presence of mind to think to hold the wounds together," Johnson said. "I think they couldn't quite understand why we were making such a big fuss over them, but after reading the reports I just thought these kids needed to be recognized."