April 15, 2009

All the Wrong Heroes

2009 1511 page7 capOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL GRADUATE JAMES APPEL FIGHTS to save the life of a young boy stricken with malaria in a poorly equipped medical facility in Chad. Appel and his wife, Sarah, chose to come to the remote Nigerian town of Béré—which has no plumbing, electricity, paved roads, sewers, clean water, or telephones—because they believe they can improve the quality of life for people in this region. “You never know what to expect [here],” Appel says. “The only surprise is if everything goes as planned.”
• In Denver, Colorado, 68-year-old bus driver Jim Moffett was “knocked clean out of his shoes” by a truck after pushing three people to safety from the oncoming vehicle. His good deed resulted in broken bones, a dislocated shoulder, bleeding in the brain—and a ticket for jaywalking! (The ticket has since been dismissed.) He and another man were helping two elderly women cross the street when the accident occurred. “He was being a good citizen and being a man of faith,” Moffett’s son Mark said of his father. “He was just helping out the elderly.”
• The tiny gray kitten meowed plaintively as Leslie gently maneuvered the antibiotic-filled syringe into its mouth. She then carefully placed the kitten back into the box among its three siblings, all rescued just days before from the lot of a BP station, where they had been abandoned. A total of some 80 cats were currently finding refuge in her small Maryland home, an officially registered rescue center for abandoned cats. Will I ever find homes for them all? she wondered. Leslie knew the answer was “highly unlikely,” but her resolve to continue to help them didn’t waver. She knew she was making a difference—at least in the lives of these cats.
“We have all the wrong heroes,” someone said to me recently. “We idolize football stars and movie actors and the ‘rich and famous.’ But these aren’t the real heroes in this world.”

I couldn’t disagree.

Sandra Blackmer is an assistant editor of the Adventist Review.