‘Hearts of Heroes’: Co-owners of area animal attraction featured on TV show for life-saving actions

From left, Wild Florida co-owners Sam Haught and Jordan Munns used their airboats to save a family trapped by flood waters in North Carolina.

It’s nothing new for the owners of Central Florida’s Wild Florida to reach out and help others in need, especially when disaster strikes.

Co-owners Jordan Munns and Sam Haught were recently featured on the television show “Hearts of Heroes” for their heroic efforts in saving a family.

“Hearts of Heroes” is an educational docu-series on ABC featuring untold heroic stories of emergency responders in the aftermath of Mother Nature’s most destructive events. This heartwarming episode of “Hearts of Heroes” celebrated the unsung heroes of the tightknit Currie community of North Carolina—showing despite the worst of nature, there is so much good in humanity.

In 2018, Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina and flood waters stranded some families. That’s where Munns and Haught come in. Their airboats were the perfect solution to helping combat the rising flood waters.

“We knew it would be an airboat mission,” said Haught. “Others couldn’t get to the people in the trees. This family was stranded overnight. The only reason we could get to them was because we had an airboat.”

Haught explained that most groups have small boats which work just fine when rescuing people in rivers or lakes. However, they aren’t great for flooded neighborhoods.

“An airboat has a flat bottom and can travel over almost anything,” Haught said. “The motor won’t hang up.”

The family, which included a husband, wife, two children, a dog and uncle, would have died if they didn’t get there, Haught said.

Being on the television show was “crazy and strange,” said Haught. “To relive the story brought back emotions and feelings. We were fortunate we could be there with equipment that worked well enough.”

Thomas Backer, executive producer with Litton Entertainment, said they were impressed with the Wild Florida owners.

“Their rescue story demonstrated incredible courage and grabbed our attention immediately as these two men risked their lives and braved a hurricane. Overall, Hearts of Heroes shines a light on the reality of the scary situations that first responders and local heroes bravely face each and every day,” he said.

Munns and Haught started rescuing families and helping with clean-up during Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Their church and business don’t hesitate to show up when needed. During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, they rescued more than 100 people using their airboats. The owners also assist with local disasters in Florida and made their way down to the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma devastated the area.

Wild Florida, in Kenansville, opened 10 years ago and is known for its airboat eco-tour. The airboats skim across the shoreline and allow visitors to look for wildlife in the swamps, marshes and rivers. Keep an eye out for alligators, eagles and other wildlife.

Wild Florida also has a Gator Park, where visitors can get up close and personal with more than 200 native and exotic animals – find out more about their lemurs, zebras, watusi and two-toed sloths. They also have a petting zoo for the kids. Haught announced recently that they will be adding a drive-thru safari park by the end of this year.

The “Hearts of Heroes” episode can be viewed online on YouTube.