Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The news has been pretty oppressively negative lately, so I wanted to take a brief moment to share some stories of heroism.

First, we have a story about the four-footed kind of hero (h/t Jawa Report):

Yolanda Segovia heard a knock on her door one morning, just before 8 a.m.

Her neighbor was on the porch, with a dog and a story.

Stacey Savige had found the little dog in front of an elementary school. He wasn't very big, looked like some sort of terrier. Burrs clung to his belly. His honey fur was caked in mud.

He didn't have a collar. Stacey had taken him to the vet and he didn't have a chip, either.

Now Stacey had to go to work. Could Yolanda keep him?

Yolanda is 47. She's a divorced mom with two boys. In recent years she has survived breast cancer and cervical cancer, lost her dark hair and eyelashes to chemo. A hairdresser, she hasn't worked since 2006.

"You can leave the dog here," Yolanda told Stacey. "But just for today."

They took photos of the dog and made a FOUND flier. Stacey ran off 4,000 color copies. She and Yolanda stuffed mailboxes, put ads on Craigslist.

Yolanda took her boys to the dollar store and bought a collar, leash, ball and brown bed. Her 10-year-old, Azaiah, decided to call the dog RaeLee, pronounced "Riley." He said he had heard it on TV. All afternoon, he walked the dog, threw the ball, laughed while the dog licked his face.

"Don't fall in love with him," Yolanda kept warning.

Her elder son, Christian, 21, watched through the window. Christian has Down syndrome and an array of other ailments. He has had heart surgery, a kidney transplant. He can't speak or bathe himself.

That night, when the boys climbed into their bunk beds, the dog dragged his new bed from Yolanda's living room, down the long hall, into their room.


Four days later, they still had the dog. He was starting to answer to his new name.

He loved roughhousing with Azaiah, knew to be gentle with Christian. He almost never barked.

On Saturday, Azaiah went to his dad's house. Christian retreated to his room to watch a Barney video. The dog dozed beside him.

Yolanda had just stepped onto her porch to water the plants when the dog flung himself into the screen door, barking madly.

As she opened the door, the dog sprinted across the living room, into the boys' room.

Yolanda screamed. Christian was slumped over, his body writhing in a seizure, blood streaming from his nose and mouth.

The dog ran to the boy, still yelping. But as soon as Yolanda bent to cradle her son, the dog went silent.

"If he hadn't come to get me," Yolanda told Stacey later, "the neurologist said Christian would have choked on his own blood and died."

Since no one had claimed the dog, Yolanda decided to keep him.

The dog's owner eventually made contact, but after hearing the story, he allowed Yolanda to keep him.

Next, we have two stories of genuine heroes. The first is a British pilot:
Flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune, 28, had flown in to pick up casualties as a firefight raged between American and Afghan forces and heavily-armed rebels near Garmsir in Helmand Province.

He circled until troops reported incoming fire had calmed down.

But as Ian flew in the helicopter came under attack - which continued as casualties were being loaded.

Then as he lifted off Ian was shot.

A bullet hit a metal rail on the front of his helmet which is used to attach night vision goggles.

The round then penetrated his helmet hitting him between the eyes. It knocked his head back and caused severe bleeding.

More bullets followed, hitting the Chinook's controls and shutting down the stabilisation system.

But with blood pouring into his eyes, Ian battled with the controls to stop the chopper from spiralling out of control.

Then with the aircraft lurching from side to side he continued flying for eight minutes before landing at Camp Bastion.

Ian was taken to the field hospital and treated for his wound.

It is the first time in the nine-year war in Afghanistan a pilot has been shot while in the air.

Finally, we have an American hero, Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor, who threw himself on a grenade to save his warrior brothers:

Especially poignant is this:
"During the service, as Monsoor's coffin was taken from the hearse to the gravesite, Navy SEALs lined up in two columns. As the coffin passed, video shows each SEAL slapping down the gold Trident from his uniform and deeply embedding it in Monsoor's wooden coffin...."
No matter how dark the horizon, no matter how brutal the day, true heroes still exist and shine, protecting and inspiring us all.

There's my two cents.

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