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Heroes You Should Know: Guy Gruters

  Guy Gruters grew up with a singular ambition:  to be the best at whatever he did.  And a quick glance at his developing resume would confirm that he was well on his way;  Eagle Scout, first in his graduating class in Engineering Science at the United States Air Force Academy, a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering in less than one year, pilot training and fighter gunnery school.  And a beautiful wife and two healthy children seemed to round out the picture.  But Gruters wanted more. 

Heroes You Should Know: Naoto Matsumura

  On March 11, 2011 Hell visited Japan;  a devastating earthquake, followed closely by a massive tsunami, and then the meltdown of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  Thousands of residents evacuated the area as the Japanese government established a 12.5 miles “exclusion zone” around the power plant to protect people from radiation exposure. 

Heroes You Should Know: Eddie Aikau

  Eddie Aikau was a son of the sea.  Born on Maui and reared on Oahu, he learned to surf at age eleven, and by sixteen he had dropped out of school so that he could pursue his dream of becoming a champion.  He’d work nights at the Dole Pineapple cannery, so he could surf during the day.  And soon he was a professional surfer as well as a lifeguard at the famous North Shore of Oahu where it was estimated he saved over 500 lives in the treacherous surf. 

Heroes You Should Know: Clara Hale

  Clara McBride Hale, affectionately known as Mother Hale to most, was a widow with three children and a high school education at age 19.  So she went to work cleaning houses by day, and working as a janitor at night.  But being away from her children so much was increasingly unacceptable to her.  So she started a daycare out of her own home for children in her Harlem neighborhood.  And the love in the Hale home was so great many of the children began staying there, seeing their parents on weekends. 

Heroes You Should Know: The Families of Margraten

 Fresh from the breakthrough at Normandy, General Dwight Eisenhower and the Allied forces dreamed of a move that would end the war by Christmas of 1944.  The result was Operation Market Garden, where allied air and ground forces consisting of American, British, Canadian, Polish and Dutch soldiers would liberate Holland by seizing key bridges in Holland, and then rapidly sweep north into the lowlands of Germany while avoiding the German defense line.    

Heroes You Should Know: August Landmesser

 If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is worth a million.  It’s 1936 and the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg is hosting Adolf Hitler, who has come to witness the unveiling of a new ship for his Nazi war machine.  The German newspaper Die Zeit is there to capture the moment, and the adoring audience of laborers facing their Fuhrer---manufactured propaganda.  But then courage breaks through.  

Heroes You Should Know: Mary Bethune

 The fifteenth child born to former slaves, Mary McLeod Bethune was the only member of her family to go to school.  She eventually received a scholarship to Scotia seminary where she studied to be a missionary.  But instead of Africa, where she’d dreamed of serving, Bethune was to become a missionary of justice and equality in her own country—the United States of America. Bethune founded a school for African-American women in 1904 that what would become Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach. 

Heroes You Should Know: Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma

Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma were a farming couple living Markowa, Poland with their six children when the Nazis invaded in 1939.  At the time, Markowa was 90% Catholic, and 10% Jewish.  And in 1942 the Nazis began coming for the 10%.  The majority of the Jews were massacred, but a few survived because Catholic families gave them refuge.  From the beginning of the persecution, the Ulmas were one such family. Even giving a Jew a drink of water in occupied Poland was punishable by death, let alone hiding Jews.  

Freddie Gray’s Rough Ride: Why Virtue Matters

 I write a lot about virtue, and why it matters. And then life presents a story that is far more compelling and challenging than anything I could conjur up. The rough ride of Freddie Gray is the latest example of why we need virtue—and what happens when it is absent. 

Heroes You Should Know: Jennifer Bricker

Jennifer Bricker was raised with one rule, “Never say ‘can’t’!” But what if you’re left at the hospital by your parents the day of your birth because you have no legs?  And what if your dream is to be a gymnast, and play basketball and softball, and eventually be a star in Hollywood?  ‘Never say can’t’ doesn’t just sound unrealistic…it sounds cruel. But for this amazing young woman, who was adopted by amazing parents, it was the phrase that gave her life direction.     

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