Faces of Courage: Kendrick Castillo, Riley Howell, Brendan Bialy, Joshua Jones
These are only some of the young heroes from the recent school shootings which occurred both at UNC in Charlotte on April 30th and in Highlands Ranch, CO on May 7th at STEM. These young men — Kendrick Castillo, Riley Howell, Brendan Bialy and Joshua Jones — were murdered while charging and/or tackling the gunmen. In doing so, they saved countless lives. Howell, a pure-hearted, ROTC Cadet who was only 21, was shot twice at UNC in Charlotte but kept charging and knocked the shooter down before his life was taken away. In Colorado, Brendan Bialy (who was Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program) and his friends also charged the gunman and saved others. Joshua Jones was shot twice charging the gunman and is now resting at home. Bialy was physically unharmed but Kendrick Castillo, only 18, was murdered as he lunged at the shooter. Castillo was supposed to graduate in only three days. National Heroes Day wanted to honor these young men, two of whom didn’t make it home, because they chose to save lives. Other heroes that students credit with engaging the shooters to help them escape are Jackson Gregory and Lucas Albertoni. This is still an evolving story. (Photo credits: Wells Funeral Home, Brendan Bialy Instagram and Kendrick Castillo Facebook) #NationalHeroesDay #WhoseYourHero
Albert Madrid, 25, Loses Life Saving Family In CA
Albert Madrid, 25, and his girlfriend were pulling into a trailer park in Highland, CA when they came upon a neighbor’s trailer up in flames. Albert jumped out of the car before it was even in park to run headlong into the home and got the entire family up and out, including a teen, a grandfather and two little girls, ages four and seven. They were all asleep. Tragically, he never made it out of the mobile home himself. A completely selfless young man, Albert Madrid died a true hero. #NationalHeroesDay honors him and his incredible spirit. (Photo from KCAL)
Cross Scott Saves Woman In Tucson, Using CPR He Learned From 'The Office'
Cross Scott, the lead shop technician at Jack Furrier Tire & Auto Care in Tucson, was on a test drive with one of the cars he was working on when he looked over to see another car pulled to the side of the road with the hazard blinkers on. That car was was slowly rolling backwards.. He pulled over, grabbed a large rock and jammed it under the tire, and then found the female driver slumped over her steering wheel, lips blue. He immediately sprang into action, breaking the back window and crawling in to giver her CPR. He told the local media that while he didn’t know CPR, he remembered an episode of “The Office” where Steve Carell’s character sang “Stayin’ Alive” while practicing CPR chest compressions on a dummy. The tempo of that song, apparently, is the right tempo for chest compressions, and he saved her life. Another song that works? “Baby Shark,” but “Stayin’ Alive” is far less annoying. #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero?
(Photo credit: Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star)
Kayden Moody, 7, Saves Entire Family From House Fire In Arkansas
It was about 5:30 AM and everyone in the house was asleep in a home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas — everyone but second grader Kayden Moody who smelled smoke and immediately woke up his four year-old brother and then ran into his Mom’s room and got and her fiance up and got them and their five month-old baby out of the house. The seven year-old knew exactly what to do as the smoke filled the room . By the time he got to the door, he said he could barely breathe. The cause of the fire is believed to have begun from a faulty space heater (plugged in but turned on). Check your smoke detectors! Thank you to this small, but courageous hero. #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero?
Bernadine Reed Saves 40 Children From Burning Bus In SC
Bernadine Reed had been in her new job only 45 days when the bus she was driving full of schoolkids was hit from behind while they were waiting at a railroad crossing. When one of the kids yelled out that there was smoke, Reed hurriedly started directing children off the bus until they were all safe and a ways away. That’s when the bus burst into flames. “The only thought I had was getting them all out of the bus to safety,” said Reed, a former special education teacher from Maryland. She said that she didn’t think of herself as a hero. True heroes never do. #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero
Joe Flanigan, Loses Home In Malibu Fire, Goes Back By Boat To Help Neighbors
Joe Flanigan and a number of his friends — David deRothschild among them — are some of those everyday heroes you rarely hear about. Flanigan’s home was lost in the fire and then went by boat back into the devastation with deRothschild and other friends to help out his neighbors and bring in some much-needed supplies. The very best of human nature. All of them. Thank you from #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero #MalibuFires #WoolseyFires (Photo taken from local ABC newscast)
Matt Wennerstrom, 20, Saves Lives During Thousand Oaks Shooting
Matt Wennerstrom, 20, was in the Borderline Bar & Grill when the shooting began on Nov. 7 in Thousand Oaks. He immediately went into action, hiding people and making sure people were protected before grabbing a bar stool and smashing the window with it to get people out. By his account, he helped 30 to 35 people escape after getting broken glass out of the window so people would not be hurt escaping. A true hero. #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero #LoveToThousandOaks #ThousandOaksShooting #BorderlineShooting
Alivia Stahl, 10, Killed While Shielding Siblings In Meiser, IN
In the dark, early morning hours of Oct. 30, Alivia Stahl, 10, and her two 6-year-old twin brothers Xzavier Ingle and Mason Ingle, left their home like any other day to catch the school bus on the side of the highway. After being waved to cross the highway by the driver of their school bus, they started across when suddenly, they looked up to see a car coming right at them. Alivia, always looking after her younger brothers, tried to shield them from harm. They were all hit as was another boy. Alivia, Xzavier and Mason were all killed while another boy, Maverick Lowe, suffered a slipped disk in his neck, broken ribs, a broken knee cap, fractures in his arm and wrist. His leg has rods and pins holding it together and he has had plastic surgery to reconstruct his face. A GoFundMe has been set up to collect funds that will go to the family of the three children killed as well as to Lowe. #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, Saved As Many As He Could In Pittsburgh Temple Shooting
Once the gunfire started in the Tree of Life Synagogue Or the L'Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers told everyone to get down on the floor, don’t move and don’t utter a sound. Then he began ushering those at the temple out of his sanctuary. He tried to get even more people out but could not help those in the back. Despite his own trauma, Myers steeled himself to preside over the funerals of the murdered. There were 11 killed and six injured, including four members of law enforcement #StrongerThanHate #LoveToPittsburgh #NationalHeroesDay
Jayla Pedersen, 7, Her Grandma and son Josh Save Two Lives After Lightening Strikes In MN
Jayla Pedersen, 7, smelled smoke in the morning in Park Rapids, MN and knew something was wrong. She woke up her Grandma Janelle and they started searching for the source of the smoke. That’s when they looked out the front window and saw a neighbor’s home on fire. They called 911. Janelle meanwhile sent her 27 year-old son Josh Pedersen in for rescue and he helped the elderly neighbors get away from the literal line of fire. An entire family of heroes, people of action. We thank you at #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero (Photo by Lorie Skarpness/Enterprise)
Savannah Lavely, 3, From Warren, MI Runs For Help To Save Mom
Savannah Lavely, only 3 years old, was on a walk with her Mom, Jessa and their dog when her mother suddenly collapsed on the sidewalk. Lavely immediately retraced their steps home — about a block and a half away — to alert her grandparents. A neighbor saw the woman on the ground experiencing a seizure and called 911 while the dog guarded over Jessa. Savannah ran up the steps to her house and brought her grandparents back to her Mom. How this little girl would remember where she lived and know what to do is both admirable and astonishing. We salute you. (Photo: WJBK)
Savannah Pritchet Saves Kidnapping Victim In Fresno, CA
Savannah Pritchet kept her cool when a woman walked into the Fresno, CA gas station where she works as a clerk and told Pritchet that she had been abducted and pleaded for help. Pritchet knew what to do. She immediately went over to the front doors and locked them and then sheparded the woman into the back bathroom and gave her a cell phone so that she could call 911. As to not to arouse suspicion, Pritchet then went back and unlocked the front door of the gas station mini-mart, allowing the alleged kidnapper in. He was none the wiser. After a few minutes, the Fresno police came in, guns drawn and arrested the purported kidnapper. We salute Pritchet for her quick thinking and incredible courage. (Photo credit: ABC) #WhosYourHero #NationalHeroesDay
Missy Pocock Credits Divine Intervention For Helping Her Rescue Toddler In Idaho
Missy Pocock was mowing her grass outside her home in Rexburg, Idaho, which sits alongside a canal when she saw two girls pushing a baby stroller. One of the girls picked up a stick and playfully threw it to their dog. That’s when the dog brushed against the stroller, sending it plummeting into the raging and icy water of the canal, which was high because of the run-off from the mountains. The stroller landed upside down with the baby— face down and strapped inside. Pocock immediately went into action, jumping over a four-foot high fence and running into the canal where the little boy was completely submerged. Even though she was up to her chest in swirling water and in a lot of mud, she was able to bring him up, and when she did, his face was blue. She started hitting his back repeatedly to get the water from his lungs. She was bleeding and bruised, but the baby was saved. Pocock told one reporter that Divine Intervention helped her in the rescue, as did Angels. Takes one to know one. We salute your courage. (Photo credit: Idaho State Journal) #WhosYourHero #NationalHeroesDay
Mohamed Bzeek, 63, Fosters Neglected Terminally Ill And Severely Disabled Children In CA
Mohamed Bzeek, a 63-year old immigrant from Libya who came to the states in 1978, has been fostering terminally ill children since 1995. He stays with them until the end of their lives, providing love and care. He has a 20 year-old son who is also sick with brittle bone disease. Since Mohamed’s wife (who was also a foster Mom) died, Bzeek has buried about 10 children but he knows this is God’s role for him— to care for the most vulnerable. He recently told a journalist, I have been asked, ‘Why do you do this?’ and the answer is simple. Even if these children cannot communicate or see or hear, they have a soul. They need somebody to love them. I tell them, ‘It will be okay — I am here for you. We will go through this together.’ “
Andrew Ramirez, 8, Saves Classmate With Heimlich Manuever In CA
Andrew Ramirez, 8, was sitting next to classmate Makayla Annis, 7, at school party when she popped a gummy bear into her mouth, started laughing and then accidentally inhaled it. She began choking. Ramiriez’s father is an ER doctor and knew immediately what was happening. It so happens he had learned a life-saving technique from his Dad so jumped up and helped his St. Anthony school classmate. “I saw Makayla choking grabbing her neck and I quickly gave her the Heimlich maneuver,” Ramirez told KRON in Fresno. He saved her life. Ramirez wants to be a doctor like his Dad and it sounds like this very caring and smart boy is well on his way. #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero
Teacher Jason Seaman, Shot Four Times, Saves Students From Shooter In Indiana
Science Teacher Jason Seaman acted quickly when a student in his classroom pulled out two handguns and began shooting in his 7th grade classroom in the Noblesville, Indiana Middle School. The former Southern Illinois University/Carbondale lineman immediately charged the student and was shot three times. Another student was also wounded. "Our science teacher immediately ran at him, swatted a gun out of his hand and tackled him to the ground," seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker told The Associated Press. "If it weren't for him, more of us would have been injured for sure." Both Seaman and the student are in critical condition at a local hospital. #NationalHeroesDay #WhosYourHero #IndianaShooting
Aaliyah Inghram, 10, Takes Bullet For Little Brother & Cousin In Las Vegas
Today, we honor Aaliyah Inghram, a Fourth Grader in Las Vegas, NV. She and her mother Samantha Tygrit were shopping at Walmart and packing up the car when a gun fight broke out in the parking lot. Aaliyah’s 18 month year-old brother and small cousin were already in the car so the 10 year-old hero threw herself over the two to protect them both. She was shot by a stray bullet, but survived. Her mother was also shot in the shoulder trying to get to the kids when she realized her daughter had already protected the children. Both Mother and daughter are in good shape, at least physically. They will celebrate a blessed Mother’s Day today. #WhosYourHero #AaliyahInghram #10YearOldHero
James Shaw, Jr., 29, Saved Lives In Waffle House Shooting In Nashville, TN
James Shaw, Jr., 29, was in a Waffle House in Nashville, TN when a man came in and began shooting, killing four people. When the shooter stopped to reload, Shaw jumped into action and grabbed the hot barrel of the AR-15 and wrestled it away. Police said if it weren’t for Shaw’s heroics, there would have likely been more deaths and injuries. Afterwards, Shaw launched a GoFundMe to help pay for funerals for the deceased. It has collected over $215K so far. You can continue to give at the link above.
Tony Nehmi, James Dalton Ran Towards Flames To Save Girls In Dance Studio In NJ
Tony Nehmi and another man Officer James Dalton saw smoke billowing out of a dance studio in Edgewater, NJ. He said he thought nothing of it until he saw little girls at the window trying to break it with their phones. He ran towards the flames, and he and another man climbed a ladder and broke the window to get the girls out just as the flames were approaching. One little girl, 12, had blisters on her shoulders --that's how close these kids were to death. Had these two men, one of them Nehmi, not done what they had done that day, many families would have been devastated and generations of families lost. #WhosYourHero #NationalHeroesDay
Osbaldo Rodriguez, 31, Dies Saving 9 Year-Old Son
Osbaldo Rodriguez and his son were riding bicycles alongside the California Aqueduct when his son lost control of his bike and plummeted into the water. Rodriguez, who knew how to swim but not well, dove in and saved his son, getting him to safety before he went under himself. Rodriguez never made it back to shore. Law enforcement called him a hero. So do we.
Anthony Borges, 15, Shot Five Times Saving Others In Parkland, FL
Anthony Borges, 15, took action when a gunman entered the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School and ended up saving about 20 other students when he slammed the door to the classroom and attempted to lock the door. He was shot five times -- in his back and in both legs and his left upper thigh bone was shattered. He is recovering in the hospital and this is a verified GoFundMe to help with his medical bills, multiple surgeries and rehab.
Aaron Feis, 37, Assistant Football Coach Life Taken While Shielding Stoneman Douglas Students
Assistant football coach/security guard Aaron Feis, 37, shielded his students during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Feis, who graduated from the school in 1999, died of his wounds during surgery in a nearby hospital. Feis was known as a kind soul who known to always put others before himself.
Liviu Librescu, Holocaust Survivor, Saved 22 Students At Va Tech
On April 16, 2007, 76 year-old Virginia Tech engineering professor Liviu Librescu held the door of his classroom as a gunman tried to enter. He shouted to his 23 students to get out while he was shot through the door. As kids jumped out of windows, Librescu was able to hold the door after being shot over and over again. He was shot five times -- one of 32 killed during one of this country's most deadly mass shootings. Because of his heroic actions, all but one student made it out alive. A child during World War II, Librescu had survived the Holocaust in a Jewish ghetto in Romania, while his father was sent to a forced labor camp. After the war, Librescu studied aeronautical engineering. He and his family eventually immigrated to Israel where he taught engineering at Tel-Aviv University before becoming an American citizen and making Blacksburg, VA a permanent home. “Professor Librescu died as he lived, devoted to his students and to his profession,” said Dr. Ishwar Puri, head of the ESM department at VA Tech.
-- honored by David Cariens, author of six books, including Va Tech: Make Sure It Doesn't Get Out and The America We All Want
Sofia Patel, 7, Saves Toddler From Drowning In Houston, TX
Sofia Patel, 7, was at a neighbor's party when a toddler fell into the swimming pool. She saw him and didn't hesitate to dive for him and grab his hand and worked hard to pull him back up. The little boy was at the bottom of the pool. She was able to pull him to the lowest step in the pool and then adults grabbed the boy and his parents started CPR. Patel started swimming at only three years old at the Houston Swim Club. She told KHOU 11 News: "It makes me happy that I saved someone's life." (Photo: KHOU 11 News)
Svetlana Reut Risks Life To Pull Off Pack Of Dogs Attacking 9-Year Old Boy Outside Atlanta, GA
Svetlana Reut was at home in Loganville, GA when she saw three dogs on top of her 9 year-old neighbor boy in full attack. She immediately ran to the boy and started pulling the dogs off of him as they were biting him about the face and neck. She suffered injuries to her head face and arms when the dogs turned on her. She was hospitalized while the little boy was airlifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with severe injuries and lacerations to his face and neck. If not for Reut, he probably would have died. (Photo by WSBTV-Atlanta)
Arturo Melendez Saves Life Of Vicki Witte In Cedar Rapids, IA
Arturo Melendez was driving on an Iowa highway when he saw a woman in a car sitting on the side of the road. He pulled over and quickly realized something was wrong. Swinging into action, he broke out the window and pulled Vicki Witte out of the car. Her heart had stopped as she had gone into cardiac arrest. That's when Melendez began CPR and kept her alive. She ended up the hospital where she recovered. The Witte family has a GoFundMe page established to help with the medical expenses.
Joshua Nowlan, Navy Vet From Aurora, CO Saves Life, Now Courageously Amputating Own Leg
Joshua Nowlan, a Navy veteran created a human shield for his newly married's friends bride when a shooter opened fire in a movie theater in Aurora, CO. on July 20, 2012. That brave decision cost him dearly as his calf and arm were basically blown off. After going through seven surgeries, this single father of two boys is now showing the world yet again the definition of courage. Nowlan has decided to go through with an amputation of his own leg from the knee down to alleviate a life of chronic pain. This hero will need everyone's help as the costs are an enormous $50K+. Please help this holiday, if you can by donating to help this hero here.
PC “Pastor Chris” Williams, Volunteers At God's Garage In Conroe, TX
Look for the helpers: PC "Pastor Chris" Williams and the volunteers at God's Garage are angels for widows, single Moms, wives of our deployed military men and those in need. They repair cars for free and fix others and give them away. The business, a non-profit started up seven years ago after PC Williams saw a mother and daughter walking down a long road from church because their car had been in the shop for months. He prayed, begged and borrowed to open a shop to repair cars to help others in need. He and they have changed the lives of hundreds of people. God's Garage doing God's work.
Brendan Kelly, 21, Saves Life Of Renee Cesario In Las Vegas Shooting
Brendan Kelly is a U.S. Marine who went into action when the mass shooting started in Las Vegas, shielding a woman he did not know from with his own body. 23 year-old Renee Cesario and Kelly had only met two hours earlier at the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert before a gunman opened fire into the crowd of 22,000 on Oct. 1. Kelly pushed Cesario on the ground and covered her until there was a pause in the gunfire, he then got her on her feet and led her out, saving her life. We salute you, Mr. Kelly. Semper Fi.
(Photo from Jenn Cesario)
James "Sonny" Melton From TN, Dies After Saving Wife In Vegas Shooting
James "Sonny" Melton, 29, from Big Sandy, TN and his wife Heather were married for only about a year and a half when they were enjoying the music at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. When the shooting started, Sonny grabbed her from behind and started running putting his hands on her shoulders and always kept his own body between her and the hail of bullets. He was shot in the back but saved his wife. He was said to be a kind and good-natured man, a registered nurse who worked in the emergency department at Henry County Medical Center.
Mike DeBartoli, Firefighter With ALS Helped Pass 'Right To Try' Law In CA. Mr. Debartoli died today, Nov. 1 2017
Mike Debartoli, a firefighter captain in Sacramento for 28 years who ran into burning buildings, saved lives and brought many children into this world, continues to fight on even though he has ALS. Despite the terminal illness, Debartoli repeatedly fought in the State's capital to help pass the state's 'Right to Try' law so that those who are terminal have the right to try medicines after the medication has gone through only Phase One of the FDA process (but not yet fully approved). As of Aug. 3, the bill has been passed by the Senate and heads to the House for approval in all 50 states.
He was on the USAR team (Urban Search and Rescue) and was sent both to Oklahoma City after the bombing and to Ground Zero after 911 to help search for survivors.
As of July 11, he can no longer go upstairs at his Tracy, CA home and has no handicap assist bathroom. A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help him to make ends meet. Yes, a hero who has helped others to the very end now needs our help.
-- honored by caretaker Anthony Gordon, whose motto is "One Act of Love Can Change A Life For A Lifetime."
Jonathan Smith, Shot In Neck After Saving Many Lives
Jonathan Smith, 30, saved many lives during the Las Vegas shooting before getting shot himself. The copy machine repairman had traveled from Orange County to Las Vegas to celebrate his brother's birthday with nine members of his family. When the shooting began, Smith tried to get his entire family out but they separated and fled. But he saw others in danger and began helping them find a way out. He pulled many people to safety before getting hit in what was literally a war zone. Hailed a hero, Jonathan told reporters, "“I don’t see myself that way. I would want someone to do the same for me."
Jack Beaton, 54, Murdered On 23rd Wedding Anniversary While Shielding His Beloved Wife From Gunfire
Jack Beaton from Bakersfield, CA died Oct. 1 while shielding his wife Laurie from gunfire at the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas. When the shooting started, Beaton, 54, yelled to his wife, "Get down, get down, get down!" and then laid on top of her body and successfully protected her life. His last words to her: "I love you, Laurie." Jack and Laurie were celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary that day. He is also survived by a 20-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter.
Erick Silva, 21, Dies Saving Others in Las Vegas Mass Shooting
Erick Silva, 21, was a security guard at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when bullets started raining down on the concert-going crowd. He stayed and helped people get out, helping them jump over a barricade. He was shot in the head on Oct. 1 as he worked to save others through the security company, Contemporary Services Corp. “He could have run but he didn’t,” Gregorio De La Rosa, his stepfather, said in Spanish at his funeral. “In a hard moment, he gave up his life. We’re very proud.” Added his mother, “I’m sure if he could save more lives, he would have.”
John and Travis Phippen, Worked to Save Lives In Vegas Shooting. John's Life Ended In Son's Arms
John Phippen, 56, and his son, Travis, 24, from Santa Clarita, CA both braved the gunfire to save others at the Las Vegas shooting On Oct. 1. John crawled to those shot and used belts to tie tourniquets around wounds to stem the bleeding. Travis, an EMT, was shot in the arm but continued to help victims using his training to help about 14 others. John Phippen covered another woman with his body and was shot in the back.. “I got over there as fast as I could and I put my arm around him,” he said and he and another person pulled his Dad out of the line of fire. John Phippen's last words were about love, said heroic son about his heroic father: “He told me that he loved me and he wanted everybody to know how much he loved them."
Chris Hazencomb, 44, Saved Friend's Wife At Expense Of His Own In Las Vegas Mass Shooting
When the shooting started in Las Vegas at the RT. 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 2, 2017. Chris Hazencomb, 44, of Camarillo, CA was shot in the head while protecting his best friend's wife from gunfire. He loved the Los Angeles Rams and was a graduate of Thousand Oaks High School. He was taken off life support on Monday.
Master Chef José Andrés Fed Victims Of Hurricane Harvey And Now Doing Same In Puerto Rico
José Andrés was on the ground after Hurricane Harvey making sure victims were fed and now he is on the ground in Puerto Rico to do the same for the survivors of Hurricane Maria. He arrived on Sept. 27 and immediately began wrangling volunteers. He is handing out sandwiches to the hungry and feeding patients and staff at Puerto Rico's Hospital of Carolina. He is even using his vast social media reach to try to locate missing relatives of those affected by the devastating storm. He is not only getting in kind donations of food, he is also working through his foundation World Central Kitchen to finance the efforst. You can donate here. #chefsforpuertorico
Jeffrey 'Shaun' Andexler, Father of 5 Killed Outside Nashville While Running To Save Son
Jeffrey 'Shaun' Andexler, 30, a father of five was killed on his son's 9th birthday trying to save one of his other sons from tragedy. The Andexler family had ventured out to a haunted house outside of Nashville, TN in two separate cars to celebrate the 9 year-old's birthday. On the way back, the car behind his -- in which his 11 year-old son Jaden was a passenger -- got into an accident on Hwy I-40. Suddenly, then the car started rolling down an embankment.
This young father saw it in his rearview mirror, pulled over, got of his car and started running headlong to save his son without a thought about his own safety. That's when he was hit and killed by a passing vehicle. His death was witnessed by his other children and his wife Ashlee who told the local news stations, "He was running on adrenaline. It happened so quick and in front of our entire family, all of our kids. I can’t sleep." The family has started a Go Fund Me to help with funeral expenses.
Howard and Edie Lutnick Who Continue To Help The Suffering Since Their Brother Perished In 9/11
Gary Lutnick was among the 658 employees who died at Cantor Fitzgerald. At 36, he was the youngest brother to Howard and Edie Lutnick who both survived the 9/11 attack. Howard didn't go into the office that day because he was taking his son to his first day of kindergarten. Edie slept in after a breakfast meeting cancelled. They were just two of the company's 302 employees who survived. Howard is now chairman and CEO of the company and he has built the company back up.
After 9/11, to help the victims of the families stand again, they began the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund and began assisting those who were suffering directly with their financial burdens. The fund has raised and distributed hundreds of millions directly to victims of natural disasters and emergencies as well as wounded members America’s military.
'After Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, they immediately opened a fund for Hurricane Harvey victims promising that "100% of your contributions will go as direct financial aid to families in need." #HurricaneHarveyHeroes
Rick Rescorla, War Hero, Who Died Saving Over 2,600 Lives On 9/11
Rick Rescorla --I had the privilege of meeting him -- was British-born and volunteered for the U.S. Army before becoming an American citizen. Sent to Vietnam as a platoon leader, he fought at the Ia Drang Valley, the largest engagement in the Vietnam War after being called in to replace a company that had suffered the heaviest casualties in the first day of combat. Rescorla not only positioned his men in the bloody, fighting pits the previous Americans had occupied, but also crawled alone into the enemy lines to survey the American defenses from the enemy's perspective, then crawled back and re-positioned his men. The next morning, they fought off an assault without losing a single man. Two days later, when a relief column of Americans were ambushed and nearly decimated, Rescorla helicoptered in with a handful of reinforcements; his confidence, skill and courage helped transform hopelessness into resolve, and helped save survivors who had been in immediate danger of death.
But Rescorla's greatest contribution to saving lives occurred on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. As head of security operations for Morgan Stanley, Rick had predicted a terrorist act involving airplanes. When planes hit the twin towers, Rescorla was ordered (during the chaos) to keep the thousands of Morgan Stanley employees right where they were. He ignored this order and began evacuating people along the routes he'd already scouted and planned. Making sure they were safe, he turned around and went back in to make sure that no one had been left behind. He saved 2,687 lives on that day alone -- but he did not save his own.
Just before the building collapsed, he telephoned his wife and said, "If something happens to me, I want you to know that you made my life."
-- honored by Randall Wallace, screenwriter of Best Picture winner Braveheart, writer/director of both Heaven is for Real and We Were Soldiers, and director of Secretariat.
The Heroic Citizen Armada Of 'The Cajun Navy'
This group of volunteers who are nicknamed 'The Cajun Navy' came from Louisiana and other places to help rescue those stranded in the rising waters of Houston, Port Arthur and other areas along the coast.
With hundreds of boats - over 760 - and upwards of 1,600 volunteers from Louisiana (many from the Acadiana region), Missouri and Texas, they set out as search and rescue using their own fishing boats.
Three of the men of this volunteer armada -- Josh Lincoln, Ricky Berrigan and Donnie Davenport -- saved 73 year-old Wilma Ellis whose lifeless body was face down in floodwaters. They raised her out of the water and resuscitated her and got her to dry land.
One by one, in the dark cold, The Cajun Navy continued to rescue families, the disabled and elderly out of nursing homes and others until they themselves were exhausted. As Pastor Louis Husser from Louisiana said to one reporter: "When we were in trouble 12 years ago, Texans came down to help, and so we are just loving our neighbor back.”
Their efforts have been praised by Texas Gov. John Bel Edwards. They are true American heroes and we thank them, too. #HurricaneHarveyHeroes
Brothers Joshua And Jonathan Evola Rescue 200 In Houston
Joshua Evola in Dallas and his brother Jonathan who was visiting from San Diego, decided on Sunday, Aug. 27, to go help the victims in Houston. Jonathan was set to go back to with his family in CA when his brother, having watched what was happening on TV, turned to him and said, "We're going to Houston." They got in the car and drove seven hours, got there about midnight and got on a boat and just started helping. At the end of their adventure, they had rescued about 200 people our of the dark and cold. Joshua Evola said that "God put it in my heart" to go down there. And like a true hero, he then thanked people "in the background who have been giving others shelter and food." Just two of the hundreds of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others along the Texas coast. #HurricaneHarveyHeroes
Colette Sulcer, 41, Of Beaumont, TX Loses Life Saving Daughter
We honor Colette Sulcer, 41, of Beaumont, a mother who gave her life to save her daughter Jordyn Grace. As best as rescuers could explain, Colette and Jordyn Grace were in the car driving on a service road as waters began rising. Colette left the car with her daughter to try to get to safety. They got swept up and were dangerously near a trestle when rescuers found the 3 year-old clinging to the lifeless body of her mother, visible by a little pink backpack above the water. Rescuers (heroes themselves) arrived right before they were swept under. Colette, we honor your courage and unconditional love. A Go Fund Me has been set up to help little Jordyn, who said while they were in the water her Mama was "saying her prayers." #HurricaneHarveyHeroes
Jim McIngvale, Houston Business Owner, Helping First Responders And Victims
In the most devastating hurricane ever to hit the US., Hurricane Harvey has wiped out homes and businesses across Houston. As shelters filled up across the city, Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture, immediately opened his two Houston stores for victims displaced by rising water. So far, he has given shelter to about 400 people and are telling more to come. He opened his doors after a little seven year old girl came to the store with her parents around 1:30 AM and pleaded with them to stay there for the night. Not only did he open his doors to them, but then he organized trucks with volunteers to rescue people and bring them back to safety. Mr. "Mattress Mack" McIngvale's business then tweeted out: "If you can safely join us, we invite you for shelter and food. God Bless." Like a true hero, he doesn't realize he is one and then honors the actions of others. Costing about $30K a day to shelter the victims, he told a reporter, "People are more important than profits." #HurricaneHarveyHeroes
Merging Vets and Players, Mountain Primal Meat Co., First Baptist Church In Porter, TX Join To Save Hurricane Harvey Victims
They came from L.A., Vegas, Texas and Co. They saw and they are conquering. LA-based Merging Vets and Players, CO-based Mountain Primal Meat Co. and the First Baptist Church in Porter, TX joined together to help surrounding areas hard hit by Hurricane Harvey where help and hope was much needed as so many focused on Houston. And they won't stop.
Heraclio “Jr.” Aguilar, Erick “Doc” Andino, Dustin Beluscak, David Gregory, Dustin Holcomb, Noel Huerta, Desiree Hunt, Bill Miller, Denver Morris (acting director of MVP who spearheaded the initiative), Robyn Nolin, Oren O'Neal (former NFL Raider), Christopher Rogers, Isaac Saldivar along with Mountain Primal Meat Co.’s John Maas, Joshua and Mike Aikens and Trevor Johnson, and the First Baptist Church's Jennifer Hallmark and Veteranology CEO/host Junyer Knight all pulled together to help victims in Deweyville, Orange, Kingwood, and Beaumont, TX.
They did everything -- delivered supplies, rescued people and animals, and ripped out damaged carpets and furnishings while Maas provided the four, 16-foot flat-bottomed boats and flatbed trucks. One flood victim was a 75 year-old widow whose house was on 9-foot stilts yet still had four feet of water inside. “I spent a year in Iraq during wartime, and the devastation is right on par with that ... and then add in raw sewage from septic tanks that overflowed,” noted teammate and Army vet Holcomb, who said that while they were all taking the antibiotic Cipro, one of their men took ill from wading through the sewage.
They returned home on Monday to rest and refuel, but a new team is heading back to Texas this weekend, having set up a fundraiser to help continue their efforts. #HurricaneHarveyHeroes
-- honored by Derek McLay
10 Year-Old Kiera Larsen Dies Saving Toddler in El Cajon, CA
Her shirt says "Brave" and that is exactly what 10 year-old Kiera Vera Larsen was. When she saw a driverless SUV rolling backwards down a driveway into the path of two-year-old Emmah Gusich, Kiera ran and pushed the toddler out of the way only to be struck herself. Kiera later died of the injuries she sustained. The elementary school girl with the beautiful life spirit will forever be remembered as a a true hero.
Marcus Grimmie Tackles Gunman After Sister Christina Shot, Saving Others In Orlando
Marcus Grimmie traveled with, and played guitar for, his singer-songwriter sister Christina Grimmie, who finished in the Top 3 on The Voice season six. As a devoted big brother, Marcus toured all over with Christina, which included a 17-country tour in Europe in 2015. Marcus was at his sister's side in Orlando, FL when she was signing autographs and meeting with fans after opening for the pop rock band Before You Exit on June 10, 2016.
Without warning, an obsessed/psychotic man walked up and fired 5 shots at 22 year-old Christina and into surrounding fans. Marcus reacted immediately and without fear. His only thought was to prevent harm to others, and he used his own body to prevent the shooter’s advance, knocking the assailant's arm and weapon away as he tackled him to the ground. Without the quick actions of Marcus in the face of unforeseeable danger, much greater harm could have come to innocent bystanders.
The Orlando Police Dept. called him a hero. Two of Christina's fans that night Sidney and Stephanie MacGillivray said, "He saved both of us and everyone else in attendance that night. In trying to save his sister, Marcus saved many lives, and we all owe it to him for his bravery in that split second." Added Dr. Mark McDonough, a hero himself who gave CPR to Christina until paramedics arrived: "Along with many others, I am also grateful for his selfless act of heroism."
The Grimmie family has since set up the Christina Grimmie Foundation to help both victims of gun violence and of breast cancer.
-- honored by Dr. Mark D. McDonough, father to the 3 boys in the band Before You Exit; also honored by Sidney and Stephanie MacGillivray, two of the fans in line that night who benefited from and witnessed Grimmie's bravery.
Matt Simmons, Lorin Lindner Saving Wolves And Combat Veterans In Frazier Park, CA
Matt Simmons, a former veteran with a past of PTSD, and his wife, Dr. Lorin Lindner, a psychologist, founded an animal sanctuary in 2009 in Ventura County, CA to save wolves and wolfdogs and have ended up also saving many of our nation's traumatized war veterans. The Lockwood Animal Rescue Center is home to about 40 wolves and other animals that would otherwise be destroyed. Over time, the wolf rehabilitates the veteran and the veteran rehabilitates the wolf. But, it is the wolf that chooses the veteran -- and it has been called "magical" to watch it happen. A documentary film, The War In Between, was made about the spiritual phenomena that takes place between wolf and veteran at Lockwood. Simmons and Lindner run the small, struggling California program Warriors and Wolves that is changing the course for both wounded and abandoned animals and veterans suffering with PTSD and other combat-related injuries.
-- honored by Anonymous (photo credit: Jennifer Dallas)
Heather Heyer, Loses Life Standing Up Against Racism And Hate In VA
Heather Heyer, 32, died on Aug. 13 in Charlottesville, VA while protesting against hate and racism. She was killed after a man drove his car into the counterprotesters against "Unite the Right" rally of white nationalists (which included neo-nazis). Nineteen others were also injured in the hate crime. Two troopers -- VA State Police Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates -- died in a helicopter crash on their way to assist other officers who were trying to maintain public safety. Heyer has been described by friends and family as a person who lived to help others -- a strong-willed woman who fought for fairness and justice.
Stay-At-Home Moms Dawn Chapman and Karen Nickel Take On A Monster In MO
In 2012, stay-at-home Moms Dawn Chapman, Karen Nickel and Beth Strohmeyer got together because something was clearly wrong in their neighborhood. Children were getting sick with brain tumors and other cancers. There was an odd smell being emitted from the ground. It prompted Nickel, a Mom and Grandmother, to launch the West Lake Landfill Facebook Group to start talking about it. What their research found was that they were all living on a Superfund site where waste from a uranium-processing center for the Atomic bomb was deposited -- near Bridgeton, MO. Chapman and Nickel have since mobilized other Moms via Just Moms to get answers and fight for their kids and neighborhoods. And, they refuse to stop until the EPA either fully removes the waste or permanently relocates residents living nearest the landfill. There is a documentary in the works outlining their efforts called, very appropriately, Atomic Moms.
-- honored by Anonymous (Photo courtesy of Christen Commuso)
Sarah Hotchkiss & Natalie Smith, both 14 from Camarillo, CA come to rescue of elderly couple
While vacationing on Catalina Island, Sarah Hotchkiss and Natalie Smith were in bed in the early morning hours on the Hotchkiss family boat when they heard a woman crying for help. The two girls quickly got out of bed, grabbed a flashlight, got into their dinghy and began searching the harbor. They soon found an elderly woman on a sailboat waving her arms for help as her 70 year-old husband clung to the side of the boat, his foot wrapped tightly with a rope as he was struggling to keep his head above water. The girls sided up along the sailboat and -- while keeping an eye on the man so he wouldn't go under -- went to work on trying to slacken the rope. In minutes, the man was free. "It was scary," Hotchkiss told the Acorn Times. She said that they just both followed their instincts. "I felt like his life was in my hands so if I didn't do something, I don't know what would have happened."
-- honored by Catherine in Camarillo, CA (photo, courtesy of Bobby Curtis, Acorn Newspapers)
Meet 5 year-old Hero Ayden Ison from KY Who Crawled To Get Help For His Dad
(Courtesy of WLEX)
Vickie Williams-Tillman, 56, Saves Police Officer in Baton Rogue, LA
Vickie Williams-Tillman, 56, was driving when she noticed a police officer (Officer Billie Amie) in an argument with another man. She stopped to see if the officer needed help and could see in his eyes that he was in trouble. At that moment, the man jumped onto the police officer and took his baton and started hitting him in the head. That's when Williams-Tillman called 911, got out of the car and jumped on the back of the criminal as he tried to get the officer's gun. The officer credits her for saving his life. The grandmother told the local news, "It was just an instinct. God led the way."
-- honored by a Mom in San Ramon, CA
Tom Miller, 53, Saves 5 Year-Old Girl From Drowning In A Missouri River
Tom Miller, from Granite City, IL, was swimming in the Black River in MO with his wife and friends near a roadway bridge when suddenly a woman began screaming. Looking over, they saw a woman in the water holding a baby; she was terrified, panicked as her five-year-old girl was face down in the river and being sucked into a culvert pipe that ran under the road. Although the girl was wearing a life perserver, it was no match for the powerful force of the rushing water. Risking his own life, Miller made a beeline to the girl. He reached her, pulling her up and out to save her life while battling through the currents himself.
-- honored by Dave and Beth Uhercik
Steve Hill and Jason Nelson's heroic actions in Lake City, FL
These two brave men embody the spirit of National Heroes Day.
Steve Bales, Only 26, NASA Worker Crucial Moon Landing
Steve Bales, a 26 year-old NASA flight controller had the responsibility of monitoring Eagle's guidance system during Apollo 11's eleven-and-a-half minute descent to the moon. If any problems occurred, Bales had the authority and responsibility to call an abort. As astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended, there were manageable issues until the primitive, 1969 computer began signaling a series of 'program alarms' indicating an 'executive overflow'; the machine was relaying that it was being asked to do too much, too fast and was dropping what it deemed less important calculations. This was a "go/no-go" situation just a few thousand feet above the moon. Bales had only seconds to decide whether or not to call an abort. With both fuel and time running out, it was up to Bales to decide if these alarms warranted stopping the first try at a moon landing. Bales recognized it was not a show-stopper, quickly consulted with his 'back room' team to confirm and gave flight controller Gene Kranz-- and the Apollo 11 crew 240,000 miles away hurtling toward the moon-- the 'go,' to ignore the alarms and proceed to land.
-- honored by D.C. of Escondido, CA
8 Year-Old Jayda Bell Saves Sister, Baby Niece In Sherwood, AR
Jayda Bell sprang into action after her 23 year-old sister Kindalynn had a seizure while driving with her and her two year-old niece on an Arkansas highway. With Kindalynn unable to function, Jayda was scared but kept her head and managed to push her sister's foot down on the brake to stop the car. "I told her don't die on me because she's my favorite sister, of course ... she's been my whole life," Jayda said. After the car came to a stop, the brave girl put the car into neutral, jumped out and got her baby niece out of the car seat to safety. When the car began to roll a little, Jayda used her body to try to stop it and called 911. Kindalynn calls Jayda her Guardian Angel. We call her a true hero.
(Photo, courtesy of the Bell family).
Richard Jewell True Hero Of The 1986 Summer Olympic Games
Richard Jewell, the then 33 year-old security guard at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta saved lives on July 27, 1996, when he alerted the police to a suspicious backpack which was was later found to be filled with pipe bombs during Olympic festivities. He began evacuating as many people as he could from the area before the bombs suddenly exploded into the crowd. One person was killed and 111 injured while another person later died a heart attack. But it was Jewell whose keen observations saved lives that day as the death toll in the park would surely have been higher.
This real American hero then endured the unthinkable: He was falsely accused as the perpetrator (which he was not), and he had to shoulder unbelievable stress as his good name was dragged through the mud. He was later exonerated, but the toll on his life was tremendous. Richard Jewell died young, at the age of 44, but he is one of America’s true national heroes.
-- honored by National Heroes Day
Gloria Lewis, Angel To Homeless and Hungry In Ft. Lauderdale
Gloria Lewis is a waitress from Barbados who now lives in Ft. Lauderdale. Out of her modest home with the help of her husband and son, she began Care in Action USA and every single week, she prepares almost 500 nutritious meals for the local homeless. She puts the meals in styrofoam containers and includes a proverb or a quote from the Bible along with them to bring not only food but also hope to those less fortunate. She puts the meals into her car on Saturdays and Sundays and spends each day handing out meals and praying with the men and women. She has no big funding or sponsors, but still she works to bring love and hope so people know that they -- which includes veterans of war -- have not been forgotten. She was once homeless herself. She works as a full-time waitress at Ruven's in Delray Beach, FL.
-- honored by Rotimi Rainwater, director of "Lost In America," a powerful, new feature documentary about our country's homeless youth. (Photo by Rotimi Rainwater)
Apollo Mission Team Who Put Men On The Moon On This Day In 1969
There were 400,000 Americans who worked on the Apollo Program. In fact, the entire space program of that era was populated with heroes -- from those who designed, tested and rode the massive rockets to the nimble-fingered seamstresses who hand-stitched space suits, to Mission Control, training and recovery crews, admin and support staff. Because of these Americans from NASA, the military, private industry and academia, the U.S. won the space race by putting Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon July 20, 1969 while astronaut Michael Collins orbited above. The teams did it ahead of schedule and under budget. They all had to do their jobs correctly to get Eagle to the safe landing in the Sea of Tranquility 48 years ago today while the calm, heroic Apollo 11 crew of Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on a four billion year-old moon.
-- honored by filmmaker Ted Melfi whose Hidden Figures was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Tim Medvetz, N.J. Native, Helping To Heal Combat-Injured Veterans
Tim Medvetz knows first-hand about descending into hell with pain and depression and how hard it is to climb back out. After being severely injured from a motorcycle accident, the former Hell's Angel member ended up in the hospital with two metal plates (and 20 screws) in his head, a steel mesh cage between his vertebrae, screws in his hand and knee and underwent 13 surgeries (seven screws) to reattach and save his left foot. He could have given up, but he didn't. During a hard convalescence, he was inspired by a book he read about the climb to Mt. Everest and was determined not only to survive but to climb that mountain. Remarkably, years later, he succeeded and has since climbed the highest mountain in each continent. Now, as co-founder of The Heroes Project, he works one on one with America's combat-injured war veterans to help bring them back in mind, body and spirit by conquering the mountain before them -- and inside of them.
-- honored by retired USMC PFC Isaac Blunt, a hero himself seen in the photo (above) in front of Medvetz on his way to the summit of Mt. Everest.
85 Year-Old Lindell Marbut Pulls Two Women To Safety In Burleson, TX
Lindell Marbut, who uses a cane to walk, acted quickly when a car took a turn too fast, hit a curb and it ended up upside down and burning on his front lawn in Burleson, TX. While his caretaker Sondra Young ran inside to call 911, Lindell pulled the 22 year-old driver out of the car and into the garage. Then he went right back to the burning car and began hitting on the window with his cane to try to smash the window to get the passenger out. Together with his caretaker, they pulled the second woman to safety before firefighters arrived.
Father's Day Featured Hero: Father Chris Lucas, 27, Died Saving 18 Lives In Joplin, MO
This Father's Day, we honor Chris Lucas, who would have been 33 this year. A hero who is now a Guardian Angel to his family.
Patricia Maisch, Bill Badger, Roger Salzgeber, Three Of Many Hereos Who Saved Lives In Tucson, AZ
Patricia Maisch, the late Bill Badger (in photo) and Roger Salzgeber were at the Safeway grocery store in Tucson when a gunman opened fire, killing 5 adults and nine-year old Christina-Taylor Green during a meet and greet with U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (one of 13 injured that day). Badger, a 74 year-old retired Army Colonel and Salzgeber -- who just witnessed his friend Gabe Zimmerman get shot in the head and killed -- didn't hesitate. Salzgeber turned and ran headlong towards the gunman without a thought about his own safety and he and Badger (who had been shot) tackled the shooter, both nearly landing on Maisch as she lay on the ground. Maisch then grabbed the ammo clip away from the shooter. Prior to, Mary Reed was shot three times covering her daughter. Dorwan Stoddard died while trying to shield his wife. Kenneth Dorushka was shot after he pushed his wife out of the line of gunfire, and George Morris was shot as he tried to save his wife who died. Bystander Joseph Zamudio then joined Badge, Salzgeber and Maisch in holding the killer on the ground until law enforcement arrived. Across the parking lot, a 20-year old intern named Daniel Hernandez tended to Giffords and kept her alive by propping her up so she didn't choke on her own blood. There were many other heroes that day as well. We honor them all.
-- honored by Caren Teves
Shanta Jordan Puts Herself Between Boy And Speeding Car, Bridgeport, CT
Shanta Jordan was seriously injured in Bridgeport, CT when she jumped in front of an oncoming, careening car in an effort to save a little boy from being killed. The out of control car slammed into Jordan whose body took most of the impact against a brick wall. Had it not been for her selfless act, the little boy (who is under 10 years old) would not have survived. Both are in the hospital as of June 10, 2017, but are going to survive. We pray for you both. Black Entertainment Television has drawn attention to a Go Fund Me set up to help this hero pay her medical bills. Ms. Jordan, thank you for your bravery and selflessness.
L.A. Judge Craig Mitchell: Rebuilding Lives, One Step At A Time
Five years ago, Los Angeles Criminal Courts Judge Craig Mitchell (pictured above in tank top) founded the Skid Row Running Club, which is now the subject of a new documentary, Skid Row Marathon that just won both the Audience Award and Best Doc at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Early in his life, Mitchell actually considered becoming a priest but went into law instead. Still, he found a way to do God’s work: Before going to work, he goes down to L.A.'s infamous Skid Row and gathers together those battling to maintain sobriety from drug and alcohol addiction (which is heroic itself). And they run. The Club helps them get their confidence back and maintain sobriety. Mitchell then pushes them to get into shape and takes them to run marathons around the globe. His thinking is that one cannot run a marathon without discipline -- and that means maintaining sobriety. Through the Running Club, he has helped scores of people overcome addiction and homelessness. We -- and the hundreds who he has helped get back on their feet – salute Judge Craig Mitchell.
-- honored by Judge Paul Suzuki (photo, courtesy of Skid Row Marathon)