Ekkapol Ake Chantawong, 25, likely led the 12 boys into the cave nearly three weeks ago.
Today, he was the last one out.
He has been criticized by some for what is perceived to be act of supreme recklessness. However, the town has rallied behind Coach Ake, a former monk and community worker.
Both of his parents died when he was young, essentially orphaning Ake. Like many orphaned children in Thailand, moved away from his childhood home of Mae Sai to become a Buddhist monk at a monastery in the nearby province of Lum Phun.
He remained in the care of the monastery for much of the next decade
This selflessness, one of his relatives said, is what helped to keep the children alive during those first nine agonizing days before divers discovered the missing group.