A few days ago, our graphic designer, Alison Martin told me about an incident that happened while her husband Shan was working. One of the men he was instructing was on a telephone pole learning proper procedures and suffered a heart attack. Shan, who is a trained CPR instructor, immediately called 911 and began administering CPR. Fortunately, some forty minutes later the man was in the hospital receiving a stent, without which he might have died. The first word that came to my mind as I heard the story was…hero.
Sometimes the word hero is overused and we might worry that it is in danger of being trivialized, but make no mistake, there are real heroes, as the wife of the gentleman that Shan helped to save will attest, and they deserve nothing less than our praise and our honor for what they do. Being a hero is not just about knowing what to do, but doing it, quickly, competently and without thought for oneself. A real hero doesn’t think of himself or herself that way, but their acts speak for themselves.
As the unthinkable unfolded at the Boston Marathon on April 15, we saw heroism take many forms. There were the first responders who ran without hesitancy toward the danger to minister to their fellow citizens. There were the runners who, spent with exhaustion and dehydration, turned around at the finish line and rushed to the site of the blasts to do what they could. There were soldiers and former soldiers in the crowd who instinctively went to the aid of the fallen just as they had done on foreign battlefields. There were the neighbors who came out of their homes and businesses and brought blankets, food and drink, who even opened their homes to runners and their families who were cold, hungry, tired and frightened. There were the doctors and nurses at Boston’s hospitals who rallied to respond to a real disaster, just as they had practiced so many times, praying they would never have to witness such a traumatic event. They came to their shifts early, they stayed long past their shifts were over, they came in from their days off, to be sure the scores of injured could be cared for while the rest of the hospital continued its daily work for all of its patients. And, there are all of those in local, state and national law enforcement who still under the threat of danger, worked tirelessly to make sure the cowardly perpetrators of the horrible, violent act would be brought to justice.
Whenever our country is rocked by senseless violence, the acts of heroism we see confound us and make us very proud that we are Americans. The enormity of some of the tragic events we have suffered over the past years has reminded us of how much we need one another, and when we are tested, how deeply rooted in our collective spirit selflessness actually is. And, we by no means can forget the countless individual acts of heroism that happen every day that are no less important to those who are saved.
At a time when there are so many reasons to lose hope in the goodness of mankind, there is something very comforting and affirming about realizing that we never know when and where circumstances will arise that show us the real heroes around us. It could be a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker or even a stranger who has the heart of a hero beating inside them…just waiting for the moment it will be needed.
We dedicate this issue of Well-Being to heroes – those known and those yet unknown.