Martha McClure has been hailed a hero—but to her, she was just doing her job.
Photos of the day care provider’s bruised and beaten face went viral after she was attacked by a parent at her in-home daycare. The man did not have custody of his children, so McClure stood up to him when he tried to forcefully take them out of her care. When she wouldn’t back down, he attacked.
“To me, it wasn’t heroic. To me, it’s what I’m supposed to do. The children in my care — I am their person. I am their momma bear when their mother isn’t there. Did I know he was going to hurt me? Yes. Did I hope he wouldn’t? Sure. Would I do it over again? Definitely,” McClure told TODAY Parents.
For McClure, all the media attention has been both a humbling and embarrassing experience. She didn’t expect a gold medal for simply upholding her daily duties.
She said the three kids she was protecting are in foster care with a relative. Since she’s been taking care of them since they were newborns, McClure always knew there was a possibility that custodial conflict could arise.
So when the man arrived at her house and started behaving aggressively, her main objective was to lure him out peacefully and lock the door behind them. She could also smell the alcohol on his breath, so she knew this could mean big trouble.
When they got outside, he and his girlfriend hit McClure in the face with a shovel several times before running away.
McClure braved the battle the best she could but was left with many broken bones after the attack. The before and after picture of her face, vividly displays the harsh beating she took from the children’s father.
Though she’s starting to recover, she still experiences a great deal of pain and vision problems.
But McClure’s just thankful that the children were kept out of harm’s way and were left out of the violent dispute.
“They don’t know what all happened,” she said. “We did the best we could to keep them safe and keep them innocent. I don’t want [my home] to be a scary place where something scary happened. For most of these kids, my house is their second home.”
She’s grateful that the situation didn’t pan out worse. “It’s my job, what I did, and I will honestly say that the scars physically are going to heal, she added. “Had I given them to him — the emotional scars — I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. Everybody that mattered in that moment was safe.”
McClure has 5 children, and she aims to treat the children in her daycare as though they were her own.
Her community and supporters around the globe have donated to her GoFundMe page, and countless donors have poured in with loving messages about her heroic deed.
She’s exactly the type of woman I’d want watching my kids, and it looks like moms around the world agree.
One commenter on the page, Heather Wink, summed it up best in saying,
“Thank you for taking care of the children you are responsible for as well as you do. Thank you for putting your life on the line to protect a child in your care. Thank you for letting working mothers everywhere feel ok with their choice to put their children into day care. You are a very special woman. You deserve an award, a medal, [heck] you deserve a million dollars. What you don’t deserve is to be beaten by a man whose children you take such amazing care of. People across the country are thinking about you — you are amazing.”
McClure is overly humbled by the world’s reaction and eternally grateful for both the emotional and financial support that has flowed in.
“My job is not to warehouse children. My job is to take care of them,” she said. “Their mothers hand them off to me in the morning, expecting me to meet all of their needs just like they would if they were home with them. My job is to defend, protect, and guard their children with my own life — that’s how I feel about it.”