Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Hero?

When there's no way out, let God in

“All my childhood life, I was bullied and tormented for being ugly.  Therefore, by the time I was in my late teens, I had already become an advocate for many children’s’ groups and the elderly.  I rallied for the underdog. In my 20’s and 30’s, I actively worked with various civic groups to help young mothers.  By the time I reached my late 30’s and 40’s, I spearheaded rape crisis 24-hour hotlines, sat as a silent witness in the courtroom – studied and took notes on the judge’s behavior towards the victims, and gave over 5,000 hours as a volunteer to domestic violence causes. As a Professor, I taught my college students about service learning through hands-on work with the homeless population, including homeless and underfed children, homeless mothers, and the isolated elderly.  I designed these programs and watched as my students became teary-eyed, humble, and interested in others when they normally would have just looked away.  Not once, did I ever think of myself as a hero, because I am not”
~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall

So, you may be asking what prompted me to write this article about heroes, especially if I don’t consider myself to be one.  Definitely, I am just an ordinary person.  No, that’s not true. I am not ordinary…I am weird.  But alas, that will be a different article written on another day.  I am writing about what it takes to be a hero in light of the devastating Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.

Rarely, if ever, do I watch the news or regular television.  It is just not my thing.  I love to write and writing especially turns me on when I can write regarding things I am passionate about.  The words come flying out of my brain and onto the keyboard as fast as I can type.  This is precisely what I am experiencing now.  You see, when I think of a hero, or many heroes, I get really turned on.

As I mentioned, I don’t watch tv, but I do get my ‘fix’ of the news by reading current data the minute I log on to my computer.  I was particularly watching, reading, and listening to as many reports as I could receive during Hurricane Sandy because my sister lives near Washington, DC.  I knew she had lost her electricity.  Not only that, but I have numerous friends who live in NY, right on the Jersey Shore, and along the coastline.  I was scared silly for them and just kept praying for a diversion of some kind.  This ‘Superstorm’ – as it had been named – was headed right in the path of everyone I loved and cared about.  My biggest fear was that all the cell phone towers would be knocked down and then I would have no updates on the physical safety of everyone I loved.  I don’t remember the last time I felt so useless.  It was a miserable feeling.  I asked God to please give me strength to do what I do best, which was to remain steadfast so I could provide prayer, comfort, and courage to those who reached out to me – even though I was scared half out of my wits.  I never let anyone know I was so afraid for them. Prayer got me through that terrible darkness.

Heroes emerged from out of the blue.  One young man saw a taxicab with the driver going down under in the river below from the comfort of his high-rise apartment.  He said that he never thought about what to do…he just did it.  He left his building, dove into the river, and rescued this cab driver.  When asked why he did that, he said that he could not live with himself if he had let that person die.  He also said that he was not a hero.  Well, I think he is.  We heard stories of NYU Hospital evacuating all floors.  Newborn babies were wrapped up and held tightly by nurses as they fled to safety to another hospital.  One infant was less than two pounds.  I’ll just bet the parents of that little, precious bundle think that nurse is a hero, as are all of the nurses, doctors, nurse assistants, and staff who worked around the clock to care for people they did not even know.  What about neighbors who offered each other a warm place to stay when they had electricity and the others did not have any power?  And coffee shops who were providing free coffee to complete strangers?  Are they heroes, or do you think they were just trying to catch media’s attention and boost their business when things turn back around again?  Let me answer that question for you.  They were/are heroes.  Those business owners were NOT thinking about their business right then.  They were being compassionate.

Every single day, we are surrounded by heroes, most of whom go unnoticed.  With that said, I want to give a great big shout out to some of these heroes.  Thank you to the nursing home staff, firemen, police officers, Veterans and all military personnel, city and utility workers, day care staff, teachers, professors, babysitters, clerks at the grocery store, auto mechanics, hairdressers, counselors, coaches, friends, and family.  This is only the tip of who I’d like to write down, or the list would encompass about 15 pages in length. My own nephew is a lead foreman of a tree-cutting crew in a small town in Missouri.  Their crew left last week, four days before the hurricane hit shore, so they’d be ready to help cut trees out of power lines.  Dusten is still gone and will be gone until his services are not needed any more.  His job is dangerous and he is a hero…just ask his wife and four young children.

My daddy is my hero, as is my Vietnam Veteran and Mr. Menandro – A Bataan Death March Survivor.  Heroes come in all sizes, colors, shapes, and descriptions.  Most of the time, they will not own up to being recognized as a hero.  So, again, I ask you, “What does it take to be a hero?”  It takes compassion, kindness for others, and deep genuine concern…traits that sometimes, in everyday life, are forgotten about.  It has been said that it takes devastation to make us see what we really have been blessed with.  I have been blessed with the gifts of writing, teaching, and helping others.

What are you blessed with that can help to make you an everyday hero to someone, somewhere?  You have talents that you may not even be aware of.  Blessings to you, my friends.


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