As a firefighter, the word hero is one that we hear often, especially those of us who have been fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time and were able to save someone’s life. Certainly, we’ve all come to expect our firefighters, police, first responders and our military men and women to be our heroes. We expect them to run into the burning building, face down an armed individual or defend our nation from an ever more elusive enemy. And make no mistake, their sacrifice and dedication is what makes us the greatest country in the world.
But there are another group of heroes, those that walk among us every day. They don’t wear any uniform or receive any special training. They are the everyday Americans that can be found doing extraordinary things, often times in the face of extreme danger.
There are people like Rhonda Crosswhite, an Oklahoma City school teacher who used her body as a human shield to protect students in her 6th grade class from a deadly tornado. One of the students that Crosswhite had shielded was saying ” I love you, I love you, please don’t let me die.”
27 year old school teacher Victoria Soto was starting out what was to be just an ordinary day at Sandy Hook Elementary School until shots rang out. Soto put herself in front of her students and is credited in saving many lives that tragic day.
Carlos Arredondo was at the Boston Marathon supporting a runner who was running in memory of his son, Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. Immediately after the blasts, Arredondo ran into the smoke and is credited in saving the lives of a runner who lost his leg.
These three brave citizens are just the tip of the iceburgh. They represent the heroes that walk among us every day. The teachers, principals, nurses, doctors, first responders, and ordinary citizens who go above and beyond bringing light into the darkness and hope amid tragedy.
Taken together, our heroes continue to strengthen our resolve, bring us hope and allow us to look toward a brighter tomorrow.