So our President, and our presidents before, has declared March Red Cross Month. What does this mean? Does this mean that we must go out and bombard the people with Red Cross everything? NO. Does it mean we will go out and make everyone Red Crossers? Well, no, but hopefully we can make some of you Red Cross Ready for anything. So what does it mean? It means we are going to try and encourage or inspire you to possibly step out of your comfort zone and be a hero. The Red Cross is taking this month to recognize the Heroes in our communities; our neighbors, brother fire fighters, brother police officers, military, the child across the street, coworkers, and yes, possibly even a 7-eleven proprietor.
Many of us grew up thinking of heroes as having super-powers and capes, and yes, some have grown up seeing heroes as those who have laid down their lives for us. By definition a hero is someone who has done something great or has been brave. Bravery can also be seen in different ways. Being brave doesn’t require you to become David and fight off a giant; it is about stepping up and doing something right, yet difficult. I have had a few different opportunities to meet local heroes; I’m not going to tell you all their stories, because you can hear about them at our Real Heroes gala on March 21, but I will tell you a few.
Fresno Fire, as far as many know, risk their lives putting out fires. Well, after helping out a family during an emergency call, the Captain realized there was one more thing they could do to help. Some joined together to build a ramp for the elderly woman living in that home. How simple a task, yet so huge in sentiment. A young autistic child playing outside helped save a woman’s life, a woman who was being attacked by a dog. A 7-eleven owner opened a small library and encouraged learning. Different acts of heroism, not the acts you would find in a comic book, but heroic acts none the less.
On Monday, a family which lost their home in a fire bravely told their story on television. How is this an act of heroism? The family told their story, not for self-recognition or sympathy, but to encourage other families to take the proper precautions in their homes. They took something that traumatized their family, turned it around and spoke of the importance of smoke detectors, not going back into the fire, and to not be afraid to accept the Red Cross’ help after a fire emergency. For this family, they hope that by speaking out, another family may be safe in the event of a fire.
If you still need your hero to have super-powers, close your eyes and imagine this; a young boy with a magical stick that fights of villainous dogs. A firefighting super trio whose undercover disguise is helping the elderly. Or a 7-eleven owner by day, but an educating crime fighter at night. Not all heroes have to come from a comic book; we can all heroes, and we have heroes all around, some are just in disguise.We thank all Our Heroes, and remember; a simple note, “thank you for caring,” can go a long way.
Veronica Lases AmeriCorps NPRC MemberPreparedness Coordinator
Community Preparedness and Resilience Services