Ordinary people doing the extraordinary have emerged as heroes
Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 8:00 pm
By: By Chris Menees
Heroes comes in all shapes and sizes.
They come from all walks of life.
I’ve always had a problem with what some people consider a hero. To me, a hero is not a grossly overpaid pro athlete or a virtually unknown ball player who causes a media frenzy by coming out of the closet.
I’ve always considered heroes to be soldiers and firefighters and police officers and other selfless servants who lay their lives on the line every day to ensure my safety. I think of John 15:13 — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
But sometimes heroes appear in the most unlikely of places when ordinary people do extraordinary things in the face of danger.
Many heroes emerged from the rubble this week in Oklahoma.
They appeared in the form of teachers and nurses and others who rushed people to safety and, in some cases, literally shielded them from harm with their own bodies.
A bit of a news junkie for obvious reasons, I’ve watched with great interest this week the stories of devastation caused by tornadoes that struck Oklahoma Sunday and Monday. I’ve had a personal interest, too, since my husband and I have a dear Native American preacher friend in tornado-stricken Shawnee, Okla.
As I’ve followed news reports, I’ve been both humbled and inspired as the stories of heroism have emerged. Many have involved everyday people who went to work without a clue how their lives would be changed before day’s end.
Just read for yourself.
While the tornado rumbled closer, teachers at one school in Moore, Okla., wedged students into a hallway. They placed pillows on the kids and lay on top of them to form a shield. As the roof was torn off, a car fell from the sky and landed just 20 feet from where they were huddled.
One teacher related how the adults could be heard praying aloud. Miraculously, everyone survived.
Just a mile away, at another school where several children died, one teacher also used her body to protect students from the twister. She and a colleague were pinned to the ground by a car that landed on them, but the car deflected the building’s falling roof.
Another teacher at the same school came dangerously close to being sucked skyward as she clung to children while the funnel roared through the area.
Still another teacher managed to think about her students amid the chaos and literally jumped on top of them to shield them from falling debris. In the aftermath, she continued to pull children from the ruins.
As the deadly tornado swept through, Moore Medical Center was directly in its path. Patients and staff scrambled to safety zones at the center of the hospital as it was pulverized by 200 mph winds.
Everyone at the hospital survived — including a nurse who used her own body to protect a newborn she had delivered barely an hour earlier.
When the nurse learned the twister was coming, she wheeled the baby and his mother down to the windowless hospital cafeteria on the ground floor. She later related how she and the baby’s mother hugged and prayed as they shielded the hour-old baby.
At the same hospital, a young mother who had been in active labor huddled and prayed with four nurses as the floor shook and the ceiling crumbled. The nurses slowed her labor and they waited out the storm in the safety of the cafeteria. Afterward, she was rushed to another hospital and delivered an 8-pound, 3-ounce son.
The baby’s middle name of Immanuel — which the mother said was chosen months ago — means “God is with us.”
No doubt, more remarkable stories of heroism and selflessness will emerge in the days ahead.
These stories of hope in the face of great tragedy remind me why I think America is still the greatest nation in the world.
Despite our differences, Americans have proven time and again to be a resilient people who stand united when disaster strikes. When one of our own hurts, we all hurt.
God bless America.
And God bless the people of Oklahoma.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.24.13