Ronald Reagan stated in his First Inaugural Address, “Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.” As we’ve focused this week on heroes, many readers have shown us where to look. For instance, Mike Patterson pulled a truck driver to safety when his rig caught fire. Two weeks later, he saw a four-year-old girl struggling in a creek and dove in to help. The waters were shallow, and his spinal cord was severed. He died a week ago.
Dustin DeFord, one of the 19 firefighters who died in the Arizona tragedy, was a strong believer. His Twitter profile description reads, “I am living by the grace of God, not sure where I am going in life, but desiring to follow God in each stage of my life.” A reader wrote about his father, who “was not only my family’s hero but also an American hero.” Clay Conner survived 33 months behind enemy lines in the Philippines during World War II and “left a legacy of leading many men to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
Another reader wrote about her husband “because of his genuine humility and servant’s heart.” He recently spent a day working on an elderly couple’s house, and loves serving others through their church. Another reader noted that “teachers are among the unsung heroes.” Citing recent stories in which teachers protected their students from tornadoes and gun-wielding assailants, she adds: “Kudos are not enough, but I’m proud to support our teachers . . . daily heroes in our country and throughout the world.” Another wrote that “my mother was my hero.” She cared for her bedridden husband for 16 years, working a paper route and babysitting to make ends meet.
One mother says, “Both of my sons are heroes.” One is a Marine, the other a firefighter, and “both are ready to lay down their lives at a moment’s notice.” Another mother calls her son her hero—he has been a Marine for 16 years, deployed four times and re-upping for four more. A father describes his 22-year-old firefighting son as his hero.
A man wrote about a high school classmate who gave his life in Vietnam to save fellow soldiers. A reader wrote about a missionary whose prayer for a wounded woman was answered miraculously. Another wrote to commend American parents who adopt in foreign countries. Another told of her father’s sacrifice—he resigned as a pastor when his wife developed MS and has cared for her for 20 years. Another reader told of an older gentleman who cared for his wife with Alzheimer’s.
What do these heroes have in common? Sacrifice and courage, two traits we can each choose to emulate today. Each could say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Can I? Can you?
In closing, a mother wrote about her son, Tech. Sgt. Matthew Schwartz, who was killed in action on January 5, 2012 in Afghanistan. Ten days before he died, he emailed his wife to express his love for her: “So Jennifer if God comes today and takes me home I will have had more blessings than anyone could have ever wished for.” The mother says that many have described her son’s death as “the ultimate sacrifice.” She replies, “No, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, my son just followed in his footsteps.” She closes, “Thank you Jesus for being Matt’s hero!”