forest fire aheflin/Getty Images
HEROES ABOUND: There are heroes who daily help people in dire situations. Celebrating their contributions is uplifting.

There are heroes among us who should be celebrated

Encouraging, inspiring public service gives us reason to celebrate, even in discouraging times.

There are heroes among us.

The recent rescue of 12 members of a Thai soccer team and their coach from the flooded bowels of a cave complex was a triumph of our higher powers.

Hundreds of firefighters have worked tirelessly to evacuate threatened residents from wildfires in California.

The city officials and emergency management workers in Hill City, Scott City, Hays and other western Kansas communities have rescued residents from rising waters that damaged their homes and automobiles.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service offices across the region worked tirelessly to put out warnings letting people know when they were in the path of threatening storms. And when the worst struck, crop insurance adjusters showed up to do damage estimates and pave the way for checks to Kansans who saw their impending wheat harvest wiped out by hail storm after hail storm after hail storm, followed by flooding.

We've almost forgotten that Hawaii's Kilauea is still spewing lava and ash across the big island, and hundreds of people have lost their homes. But rescue workers are still working day and night to keep people safe and make sure they evacuate when the threat to their home grows too great.

It was awesome this week to be able to ignore all the things that are embarrassing, frightening or irritating in the daily news and just concentrate on something wonderful: the coming together of the world to rescue a group of kids and their coach who fell into unexpected woe. The complete success of the effort is a “stand up and cheer” event.

I have to admit that, as a journalist, I was praying for those kids, but I was braced for the worst. It reminded me of little baby Jessica in the well. There's a chance we can get there, but the odds are so DAMN stacked against it that we have to brace for the worst.

I have to admit that I broke down and cried when the last of those kids arrived at the hospital, all of them needing medical care and healing time, but all in good spirits and all likely to make a full recovery from their experience.

My admiration for their coach is immense. He gave the food in his backpack to the kids when they were trapped, going hungry himself and risking his own life to keep them stronger. He kept their spirits and their hopes up during the trying days they were trapped. Some doctors are even saying that his encouraging attitude and maintenance of hope may have prevented some of the worst psychological damage the kids could have suffered, making their ordeal more adventure than life-threatening trauma.

Yes, there are disturbing events out there. There are kids who have suffered unbearable trauma waiting to be reunited with the parents after being separated at our southern border. There are questions about what happens next. Our western Kansas communities are living with the fear of what happens next.

But there are heroes among us. And I'm celebrating.

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish