Anthony Zeigler 

Just as 'quitting is not an option' is a great phrase to live by, so is 'retirement is not an option'.
Anthony Zeigler devoted 20 years of his life to the US Army and his country. But instead of retiring and taking things easy, Master Sergeant Zeigler, a former New Yorker, decided to become a ROTC instructor at the Worth County High School in Georgia.

He has brought discipline and more importantly, motivation to his students.

We offer a strong and proud salute to this fine 'gentleman and an officer'!

Annie Smith 

Who says that race matters or that you should only donate an organ when dead or to a close friend or relative?
Certainly not Annie Smith, of Pennsylvania.

DyNata Mack, a 20-year-young black woman and waitress watched her mother die in 2001 of congenital kidney disease. DyNata had also suffered with this disease since she was 11 years old. After years of peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis, things were grim. She needed a transplant soon if she was to live.

DyNata mentioned her condition and needs to a co-worker at the Eat 'n Park restaurant where she worked. Kris Smith, also 20, then relayed his co-worker's crisis to his mother who was a registered nurse at a facility where transplant patients go for post-surgery care.

Despite never having met her, Annie Smith knew that she had to at least see whether or not she could be a kidney donor match for Ms. Mack. And she was!

The surgery went well and now, Ms. Mack hopes to be able to resume her education and become a dialysis nurse.

Zell Kravinsky 

Who says that wealthy people have no heart? Certainly not those who are familiar with Zell Kravinsky, multi-millionaire! But they might be correct if they said he was missing a kidney.

Zell recently donated one of his kidneys to a total stranger, because it was"the moral thing to do". Although he is caucasian, he asked that his kidney go to a poor African-American. His kidney was in fact given to a female at the Albert Einstein Medical Center.

Zell Kravinsky has also donated a large portion of his entire wealth. Hats off to you, sir! May you be an inspiration to others.

Chris Dudley 

Basketball stars can in fact be great role models. Just take Chris Dudley, for example.

This Yale graduate has been giving back to those less fortunate than he, as well as to his sport's fans, for some time.
At 16, Chris was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. And instead of pity, he used his energy to become one of the greatest basketball stars. But not only did this provide inspiration for others,, Chris Dudley donated $100,000 to Yale to create an endowment to help out their basketball program.

Chris received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. In 1997, he received a USA Today award for being one of the 'Most Caring Athletes'. - He gave 50 homeless children a shopping 'spree' in order to have a great Christams. - He created 'Doin' Right With Dudley' that inspired young people to do community projects.

The Dudley Foundation was created to provide to provide education, advocacy, and support diabetes research.

Chris Dudley scores big time with us for all that he has given back to his fans and others!

Adam Hill

Children have a difficult enough time growing up in this world without having to deal with the physical pain of and emotional cruelty inflicted by children because of limb and spinal deformities.

Enter Adam Hill, an Imperial College bioengineering PhD graduate.
Mr. Hill established Operation Frameworks in the summer of 2006. This incredible charity helps raise awareness, funds research, and provides services which help children with spinal and limb deformities in developing countries.

Please visit their website: OperationFrameworks.org

Nashira Baril

Unfortunately, despite what many Americans would like to believe in the 21st century, there are major discrepancies among ethnic groups' access to and quality of health care. There are also differences in how and when folks seek medical attention.
This is where the Nashira Baril comes in. This young woman works for the Boston Public Health Commission as Director of the REACH US Program. She has experience working in the Dominican Republic and Massachusetts.

In this program approximately 8,000 women and family members have received access to health care and health-related education.
Ms. Baril has amazing community leadership and outreach skills, along with management ones.

Too few folks with such abilities get involved on a full-time basis.
Hats-off to her!

May she be an inspiration to others!

William Short

Most 15 year old boys simply dream of dates, sports, video games, and the like.
Well, a 15-year old boy named Willaim Short, from Marystown in Canada had a dream of doing something special to help others. He already had a music business. But he knew that he wanted to give something back to the world. And he loved children.
Thus, the Short Circuit Dream Fund was established. - It's goal is to help terminally ill children to have their wishes come true. - Certainly similar organizations exist. But, are they enough to meet the needs of these soon-to-be-angels?

Hopefully, William's dream catches on, with others following suit and helping to prove that their generation is one that we can be proud of.

        Alexis Goggins

It's not only adults who display heroism in the face of danger.
Alexis Goggins of Detroit showed that life is sometimes 'topsy-turvy'.  - While 7 years young, this adorable girl, who had a stroke as an infant and who had epilepsy, found her mother's life in grave danger due to an out-of-control, ex-boyfriend. He was poised to shoot Ms. Goggins, when Alexis threw herself in front of her. Six bullets struck, Alexis. 2 hit her mother.

Her mother recovered. The ex-boyfriend was arrested. But Alexis suffered serious injuries. Fortunately, she survived, although she did lose an eye. Now, fitted with a prosthetic one, she learning to cope once again with health issues.

 Alicia Sorohan

If someone says that you 'fight like an old lady', you can be proud! Thanks to Alicia Sorohan, a grandmother from Brisbane, Australia.

Alicia was camping with others by Cape York. She woke up, early morning, to hear a man screaming.
Although she is 60 years old, Ms. Sorohan left her tent, to help Andrew Kerr. Mr. Kerr was with his wife and child, when this 770 pound crocoodile, went into his tent and proceeded to drag Mr. Kerr out and toward the water.
Alicia jumped onto the crocodile's back in an attempt to save Mr. Kerr, who had already sustained injuries. Unfortunately, the crocodile bit her and the fight caused Alicia to suffer other injuries. Luckily, another camper had a gun and was able to shoot the giant reptile.
Both Ms. Sorohan and Mr. Kerr were rushed by air to a hospital, where they were treated.


Bill Anderson

Lots of us 'spin our wheels', but none for such a great cause, perhaps, than Bill Anderson, who is in his prime of life at 78.

Bill served his country, the U.S.A. and the world, when he served during World War II as a paratrooper.  Again, during the Korean War, Mr. Anderson served his nation and others. Bill still is concerned with others. This time, those who are hungry and homeless. Having grown up during the Depression, he knows what hunger and poverty is about.

Bill has earned attention for bicycling from Canada to Mexico. 

Now, Bill is cycling from the San Diego, CA. across the country to Jacksonville Beach, FL. His journey will hopefully do more than set a record for the oldest person to bike across the country. Bill wants to raise lots of money for the Crossroads Mission in Yuma. Services for the homeless are the targeted beneficiaries of Bill's adventure.

Join us in following Bill's journey, by logging on to: www.crossroadsmission.org
Also, why not donate to this great adventure and cause?

Peter Terbush 

It is often in a crisis that a Special Hero displays extraordinary heroism. Such was the case in June of 1999 when Peter Turbush saved the life of his friend, Kerry Pyle.

These two men and others were at Yosemite National Park. Peter had been rock climbing for most of his life. At 22, and a college student, he was climbing with friends and holding Pyle's rope, as Pyle descended. Suddenly there was a lot of noise and rocks began to fall. Actually, they were huge boulders.
Peter could have let go of the rope attached to Pyle, but he would not. Peter died of head injuries.


Angel Flight America

What do you get when you mix over 4,000 pilots with those in need of medical assistance? Angel Flight America.

Over 4,000 Special Heroes who happen to be pilots, donate their time to help sick patients reach necessary medical care that would otherwise be literally 'out-of-reach' for them.  Patients are those requiring treatment vital to their living but who do not have the financial or other resources to reach that all important medical treatment.

There are 6 chapters of Angel Flight America with the oldest one being Angel Flight West.
Not only do pilots donate their time and planes, but some of the major airlines now provide free air transportation for patients.

We tend to take for granted being close to medical facilities, perhaps, but these pilots and their associates do not.
While we cannot list each of these Special Heroes by name, we can certainly include them in our daily prayers.


Dean Chapman

There are blind heroes in literature, but nothing beats real life heroes. Just ask Tess Gray, an Australian dance teacher.

Tess had been swimming at Mollymook Beach when she ran into distress. She was not close to shore and in great danger of drowning. Luckily for her, Dean was nearby.
Dean is legally blind with approx. 10% of his vision and is also hearing impaired. Yet, he is active in sports, including being a volunteer Surf Life Saver. He also volunteers at the Noah's Ark Centre, helping disabled childre.

Dean helped bring Tess to the shore's safety, but then took off. Luckily, a newspaper helped bring Dean together with Tess and her family.

Song Gyeong-tae 

Often, one who cannot see, sees the most. 

Song GHyeong-tae, now in his 40's, became blind after a grenade exploded, while he was in the army. He has a masters degree in social welfare and has received a number of awards, including the 2000 Presidential Award for his accomplishments, since his disability.
But not one to rest on his laurels, in the summer of 2002, Song began a cross-country walk from Mokpo to Panmunjom, accompanied by his seeing-eye dog, Chanmi.

His walk was to raise recognition for senior gukga yugongja, an elderly person who had been recognized for service to the state. However, over 100,00 of these fine folks were living in poverty or close to it. During his journey, Song would participate in charity events.

Dr. Guillermo de Venecia

'I can see clearly now..' are words from a popular song. They are also words, many, many people can say thanks to the incredible dedication and donations of an opthamologist who saw a need that others were willing to ingnore, and he filled it!

A University of Wisconsin Hospital opthamologist for decades, Dr. de Venecia, since 1979, spent vacations performing free cataract surgery in the Philippines. He found the cause more than worthwhile, especially knowing that without his services, many would become blind.

In 2000, he helped create a clinic near Manila, where in less than 6 months, over 800 surgeries were performed. He was named the 2000 SMS Physician Citizen of the Year by the State Medical Society of Wisconsin.

Now retired, Dr. de Venecia is not one to rest on his laurels. Over 70, he and his wife, a nurse spend months in the Philippines. He donated his eye clinic to the Tzu Chi Foundation headquartered in Asia.

Thank you, Dr. de Venecia for giving the gift of sight to so many. May others see the value of your efforts and choose to replicate them.

Randy Marsman

Builders are usually strong people. But Randy Marsman, a builder, also had a strong will and a strong sense of values.

July 22, 2002, He was driving in Michigan when he saw a catastrophe in the making. Duane Ely's pickup truck was hit from behind and sent off the road to the side. There, the truck burst into flames that were spreading on the ground nearby due to gasoline leakage.
Ely was trapped in the truck. Marsman broke the windshield and attempted to pull Ely out to safety, but was unable to do so. Even with another passerby's help they could not free Ely. So, Randy went partway into the truck's cab and freed Ely sufficiently, that he and another man could pull Ely through the windshield area. The flames quickly hit the cab area.

Luckily Randy suffered only minor injuries. Ely had some neck and back injuries, but had his life.

Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien 

Imagine surviving SURVIVOR MARQUESAS long enough to walk away with $80,000. Now imagine that you are a real estate agent who could just relax a bit now that the show is over and spend some quality time with your son. Now, imagine that as a strong-willed woman, you decide to help other women.

Kathy has established the REAL FOUNDATION. It is designed to help build confidence and self-esteem in women who lack both. Her foundation will give money to nonprofit organizations to provide services to women in need.

Thanks for showing other women that you can be strong, nurturing, and giving, Ms. Vavrick-O'Brien!

Dave Foreman

Action movies. The stuff that many of us are drawn to. We see actors play heroes, in the midst of explosions at sea and elsewhere. But nothing can truly prepare you for the real thing, which is what Coast Guard rescuer, Dave Foreman discovered in March 2004.

Near Virgina, a tanker with Filipino workers exploded! Ethanol seemed everywhere. And that is where Dave stepped-in. Rather, he flew in with a rescue helicopter. The workers were covered in oil and very slippery to hold onto. But Mr. Foreman and others with him kept at it. 3 people died, 18 others were missing. And Mr. Foreman himself was hospitalized for oil fume inhalation.

The next time you see Stallone or another action hero in the movies or tv, remember that everyday, real-life heroes do this work without being paid millions of dollars and without production crews or stunt people.

James Smit 

They say that you should 'take the plunge' when you find something that you want to do.
That's what James Smit, a Berkley Township policeman of many years did 10 years ago. He helps run a yearly Polar Bear Plunge event to raise money for New Jersey's Special Olympics.

Last year, the group had almost 3,000 particpants who were willing to plunge into icy cold water, raising money by signing up at least $1,000 each in pledges. James has raised more than $500,00 and hopes to break the $1 million mark within the next 8 years.

Although James has a niece with Downs Syndrome, the event has a broader appeal for him. He knows the impact that the Special Olympics has on the lives of the participants and their families and friends.
Mr. Smit goes to to both the Summer and Winter games, when he can.

Hats-off to this public servant who continues serving others in his free time. (By the way, his wife, Joanne, helps with the events as well, allowing for some very special time together.)

Mike O'Callaghan 

Public service is a too-often used phrase. One too-often used to describe, self-serving folks who are seeking self-promotion. Not so, in the instance of Mike O'Callaghan, former Governor of Neveda.

Speak of humble beginnings, Mike was raised on a Minnesota farm before moving to Wisconsin where his mother was a teacher in a one-room school. At 16, he joined the US Marines. He worked in a factory. He was awarded the Silver Star for heroism during the Korean War where he was an Army soldier. He was also given a Purple Heart. In fact, Mike lost his lower left leg as a result of war injuries. He then became a teacher, inspiring many. Eventually, Mr. O'Callaghan became the director of his state's health and welfare dept. He was a regional director for the US Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Mr. O'Callaghan became Nevada's governor. He fought for the rights of those often ignored. He visited hospitals and other amputees to give messages of hope and inspiration.

Mr. O'Callaghan passed away on March 5, 2004, but his legacy lives on.
May others pick up the mantle of public service.

Maurice Ashley 

Role models come in all sizes, races, and nationalities. Take for instane, Maurice Ashley. Born in Jamaica in 1966, he moved with his family to Brooklyn, NY at 12.
Despite losing badly his first game against a friend, Maurice used that great resource, 'the library' to get books on chess. He devoured the info.

Yet, he was still unable to make his high school chess team. But with additional studying and practice, Maurice became a National Master within years. In 1993, he became an International Master.
Finally, in 1999, Mr. Ashley became a Grand Master and the first black man to achieve this goal.

Maurice created the Harlem Chess Center in a Police Athletic League building. He knew that chess not only stimulated minds, but also trained them. He knew chess builds confidence, skills, and discipline. He also knew that kids would find it to be an exciting alternative to regular sports. And the kids, who have gone there in droves, have found it to be all of the above. Plus, their team, despite being in a tough area, has proven itself superior to school teams where much more money and privilege have been the norm.

He has created training materials for other chess players and been a commentator for some of the world's best-known chess matches.

Truly a bright man who can serve as a great inspiration for blacks, others, immigrants, young people, and more.

Deanna Micheli

America's abundance or even over-abundance is obvious to many of and the world. Yet, we tend to think of it in terms of only food or consumer products. But we overlook the abundance of medical supplies that we have and take for granted, which is not available in many parts of the world.

Deanna Micheli, while a nurse at the Fargo's Merit Care Hospital, realized that surplus items such as gloves, catheters, and bandages were being disposed of, regularly. She also realized that many around the world needed these items to save lives and 'just' treat the injured.

With the help of other medical professionals, Deanna created HERO, approximately 6 years ago. It has provided almost 20 tons of medical supplies that would have been disposed of, to mostly medical missions, worldwide. With volunteers for staff, the efforts have been remarkable. The teamwork, incredible.

But what about needs in the USA? HERO helps some local efforts, as well.

And this year, HERO will move to a large facility, thanks to the generosity of a lumberyard.

Perhaps we can all learn to conserve or donate our excesses to others, rather than dispose of them, needlessly.


If YOU know of someone who is a Special Hero, please click on the Nominate A Hero link to your left.
Write-ups to 6,000 words are accepted..



Kevin Stephan

Despite some folks who condemn all teens and  worry about the future generations,  there are plenty of true stories regarding acts of heroism by teenagers. And, this one involving Kevin Stephan is one of those true tales.

Picture a 10 year old boy playing baseball when suddenly and accidentally he is struck in the chest by  a bat. Hard enough that his heart stopped! As it turned out, a mother of another player, Penny Brown, who was a nurse, provided CPR and saved Kevin. Stranger still was the fact that Penny was originally scheduled to be at work at that time.

Now, fast forward 7 years. Kevin is an Eagle Scout and a volunteer firefighter in a small New York town. And at a restaurant in Depew, N.Y., a patron was choking... Gasping for breath! And who came to her rescue? None other than a now 17 year old named Kevin Stephan. The same Kevin Stephan who was brought back to life by a caring and quick thinking nurse.
Kevin provided t
he Heimlich maneuver. And saved Ms. Brown.

Kudos to them both!

Homeless of Kansas City

It's not often that we honor a group of people as opposed to specific individuals. Yet, the homeless who frequent the Kansas City Rescue Mission are role models for us all.

These men who seek spiritual, emotional, and physical comfort and support at the mission were touched deeply by the earthquake in Haiti. So, a number of them gave change or some of whatever small checks they receive from Social Security or other sources to help the Haitians. While $132.42 might seem insignificant, especially when one reads of fundraisers resulting in many thousands or millions of dollars,  yet the change and more that these men gave was the equivalent of so much more money. And, showed that compassion and empathy knows no economic bounds.


Thank you, David Strobl, Robert Florez, and others at the Kansas City Rescue Mission. May your life's circumstances improve!

Jimmy Bell

What can we learn from the homeless? What can they offer us? What about drug addicts?
All too often, we discard, on some level, those whose lives went astray for various reasons.

Well, Jimmy Bell of Ireland is an outstanding role model, at this point, for a countless number of  homeless and drug addicts.

Jimmy was the only boy in a family with 5 children. He loved sports, but was something of a troublemaker in school. By 14, he was expelled and on his way to a problem life. He became involved with ecstasy, an dheroin. A supportive family, he was sent to treatment that did not have a lasting effect on him, at that time. He was involved in small crimes in order to pay for his habits. He abused alcohol.

Finally, in 2003 he returned to the to the Coolmine Therapeutic Community, where he had been years earlier. He spent a long 2 1/2 years in treatment there. But this time, he was ready to beat his addictions.
Meanwhile, he joined the Big Issues Street Soccer League, through the Coolmine Therapeutic Community. It was a natural fit for Jimmy, who had loved sports so much, when he was younger.

Mr. Bell not only participated in the Homeless World Cup in 2008, he won the Player of the Tournament and the Fair Play Awards. An outstanding set of accomplishments for anyone, let alone someone who spent so many years in a troubled life!
He has a young daughter, whom he adores, and is a coach for the Street League.

May others look at Jimmy's example and turn their life around, as well!

Azra Akhtar

Forget the Verizon  famous line of 'Can you hear me, now?'. There are many people , worldwide, who are partially deaf. And, they can 'fall through the crack'. They might not be well-suited for a traditional hearing aid. They might not qualify, in school, for someone to take notes for them. And, in general, the possibility to fall behind their completely deaf or hearing fellow students is all too real.

Enter Azra Akhtar. Partially deaf, herself, she saw, firsthand, just how difficult it could be for someone like herself to excel, academically. Yet, she managed to attain a PhD at Roehampton University in England. - She also created a unique cd rom, called Signed Accountancy. This high tech item incorporates captions, audio, sign language, graphics, and more to help the partially deaf person to gain a greater grasp of subject matters. She also plans on having her own consulting business where she can create other aids for deaf children.

Azra's efforts speak volumes to all who can hear or who are deaf (regardless of the level).

Derek Creel

Who says that young people, especially teenagers are all so self-absorbed and care little for others? - Certainly not those who know Daniel Creel of Warrior City, Alabama

On March 27, 2009, Daniel, 19,  and his fiancee went to relax and fish at Black Warrior River. But soon, Daniel saw that Timothy Sigafoose and his son were struggling for their lives, in the water. Their canoe had overturned. And, they had unfortunately not been wearing life jackets. Daniel dived in and was able to grab onto both father and son. Unfortunately, Daniel was not able to hold onto Mr. Sigafoose. Daniel was able to hold onto the boy thanks to a tree on the river's bank. They were eventually rescued and the father's body was found, days later.

Alabama Governor Bob Riley signed a resolution passed  by the Alabama House and Senate. The resolution honored him for his heroism. Now, Daniel has decided to become a firefighter. He plans to get paramedic training at a community college. Meanwhile he is a volunteer firefighter with the Warrior Volunteer Fire Department.

John Melia

Who says that nothing good happens when people watch the evening news? There are many thankful veterans and their families who would beg to differ with that thought. Folks who are garteful because John melia and some friends took action upon seeing a news broadcast.

John, veterans, and others, who saw this particular broadcast focusing the problems faced by wounded soldiers returning from both Afghanistan and Iraq, decided to do something meaningful for these brave men and women.

So they created the Wounded Warrior Project .  They  provide backpacks containing  basic, vital care and comfort items such as clothing, toiletries, calling card, CD player, and playing cards. Items not normally available to them and all designed to make their hospital stay more comfortable.  They are provided to severely wounded service members who are sent to military trauma centers. - They also offer a smaller version of these backpacks. These go directly to Afghanistan and Iraq in order to offer a sense of immediate 'comfort' while a wounded soldier is being sent to an American military trauma unit.

Whether or not you support the war, please support the welfare of our brave men and women who are serving. And, who suffer, often great physical and emotional wounds. Show them and John Melia, just what Americans (and others around the globe) are truly made of! 

Genevieve Frederick

How often have we seen homeless men and women with a pet by their side or in tow? And wondered why they share what meager food they can get with an animal, of all things? And, how can they insure that the animal eats?
Well, Genevieve Frederick of Carson City, NV has establsihed a program which not only answers the above questions, but which provides much needed help for these people and their pets.

In 2005, Genevieve published, Happy Tails - Hilariously Helpful Hints for Dog Owners . Dr. Gary Ailes was her co-author.
After a New York Vity visit because her book was being honored, she saw a homeless man with a dog by his side. That scene began her enquiry into why homeless keep pets. She learned that the animals provided companionship without judgement, protection, and even sometimes warmth.
But the question of how the homeless could keep their pets fed without sharing their own meager meals, resulted in the answer: FEEDING PETS OF THE HOMELESS.

Begun in 2007, with the help of Dr. Gary Ailes and Dr. Woody Allen, collections of pet food began. The food (collected from donations and special purchases) is given to soup kitchens and food banks which have agreed to distribute it. Some basic veterinary medical care has been added to the services provided.

Ms. Frederick's devotion and compassion, to those people and pets who others often ignore, is inspirational.
Please visit www.PetsOfHomeless.org for more information and to perhaps begin such work in your own community.
And click here
for a much more detailed story of this organization's beginning.

Libby and Brad Birky

Imagine not having enough to eat. Or swallowing your pride, going to a soup kitchen, only to face a meal consisting of food you are allergic to, or strongly dislike, or is plain unhealthy.  Or, simply the act of going to a soup kitchen, having to humble oneself.
Well, Libby and Brad Birky, a young couple, opened an incredible eatery called the SAME CAFE, in Denver, CO, in the fall of 2006.

The SAME CAFE offers healthy, fresh, gourmet, organic  food with a diverse menu. (Think squash soup and great sandwiches.)
One unique thing here is that there are no prices on the menu. Patrons leave as muchg or as little as they wish to or can. So some might leave twice what they would pay normally, while those who cannot afford the standard fare for the meal will apy whatever they can.
Another unique feature of the SAME CAFE is that folks can volunteer to help out at the eatery, in order to pay for their food. Imagine the sense of self-worth that a struggling minimum wage earner or homeless person feels when they can pay their fair share, in the manner in which they are able. - Food served with a side of dignity!

The SAME CAFE will hopefully serve as a role model for others, throughout the country.  ( www.soallmayeat.org)
 It is amazing what can be done with some creativity and a sense of humanity! Thank you, Brad and Libby Birky!

Joshua Silver

What if people did not require purchasing new glasses everytime that they needed a new prescription? And, what if they did not even need to have an optician test them for a new prescription?

Well, thanks to a professor named Joshua Silver the reality is that potentially millions of impoverished people throughout the world can own eyeglasses which they can 'self-tune'. - Decades ago, Mr. Silver wondered if such a thing was possible. Now, he has come up with a working device that fulfills this mission.
These large plastic glasses have clear sacs that are water-filled. On either side of the earpieces, the user attaches syringes, which they then use to manipulate the amount of fluid in each lens. When the wearer has achieved the best vision, they twist a screw and remove the syringe. Voila! They have, in essence, a new prescription.

Kudos to Joshua Silver whose vision of a world with many more 'sighted people' is well on it's way to becoming a reality!

Roger Armour

You might say that Roger Armour, a retired surgeon, was a real-life McGyver. Except that Mr. Armour is helping to save the vision of potentially millions of people in developing countries.

Mr. Armour, in his 70's, made a prototype of a special device that can identify various vision problems, using plastic and wood scrap pieces, a small magnifying glass, loolipop sticks, and more odds-and-end items. - This prtotype resulted in Mr. Armour winning a Medical Futures award for innovation.
Typical eye testing equipment costs many thousands of dollars. - The prototype cost approximately 5 English pounds and the cost of a camera. - Now, patented, the device should be made avaialble for a fraction of the cost of 'mainstream' devices.

Dr. Armour also invented, a now in production, inexpensive ophthalmoscope.

Whereas eye care and diagnosis is costly and out of reach for many people in the developing countries of the world, Roger's device will, hopefully, help to save many children's and adult's vision.
Now, this is something worth seeing!

Sarmad Tariq

The next time that you feel badly for yourself due to a 'routine' injury, or believe that you cannot make a difference in this world because of your disability, or feel like giving up after a rejection, you should remember Sarmad Tariq.

In the early 1990's, Mr. Tariq, then a teenager, dived into a canal, only to have misgauged the depth of it. He became instantly paralyzed. He endured multiple surgeries, and knew that he was destined to live as a quadraplegic. Yet, he also knew that he wanted to live as normal a life as possible and to be 'independent'.
After many college rejections (due to their inability to accommodate his special needs), Sarmad eventually received a Masters degree in Business Administartion. He learned driving and in his early 20's married a woman who was a  neighbot of his, while growing up.
In 2004, he completed the Lahore Marathon. Then ran a marathon in New York from which he donated his sponsorship money to charity.
With financial and other help, Mr. Tariq has since established muliple centers for the treatment of paraplegics and quadraplegics.

Our kudos and prayesr are with Sarmad Tariq!

Douglas Parker 

We often take them for granted: the US Postal Worker. Yet, they provide vital services for us, daily.
And in the instance of Douglas Parker, the vital service he once provided, was to save lives.

In August of 2003, this former firefighter and oil driller, then a California resident, was on his mail route. He smelled smoke and saw flames burst from bushes outside a home. A woman from the home told him that her brothers and pet were inside. The family escaped unharmed, while Mr. Parker took a garden hose and doused the fire while waiting for the fire department to arrive for 'the finishing touches'.

Catherine Pisacane 

How much is a smile worth? To a child, at least, everything. And to Catherine Pisacane, spreading smiles, to those in desperate need of one, is a mission worth pursuing.

In November 2003, Catherine read of 3 brothers who were starved by their N.J. adoptive parents. She read that an officer who helped to save the boys, gave one of them a stuffed animal to hold. And how much that little animal meant to that abused child.

Thus, was born 'Project Smile'. It now operates in states throughout New England. A case in point is that all patrol members of the RI State Police will have a stuffed animal with them.
'Project Smile' collects new and good condition stuffed animals during drives. These animals are then given to police departments for the officers to provide to needy children.
What sort of children need these precious gifts? Sick and injured ones. Ones who are crime victims, crime witnesses, and accident victims. They are those who lost a loved one or who are experiencing a tragedy of another sort.
Bottom-line, there are many needy children who are benefiting from Ms. Pisacane's love of children.

She also shows us that one person can make a difference. Are you one of those people who will rise to the occasion? 

Gary Frye

 Sometimes, a hero is one who gives his best under strenuous conditions and fails. But it is in the trying that the hero's bravery and perserverence and grace show.

In January of 2004, Senior Airman Gary Frye, a reservist, was driving with his brother, at night when they saw a car on its roof. The Ford Escort station wagon apparently skidded on a downward part of the street and rolled 2 times. Gilbert Pina, 18, the driver was thrown from the car and pinned under it.

Airman Frye, a former paramedic, began CPR on the bleeding teenager, after Gary's brother and another man lifeted the car for Gary to get the teen out to safety. For what seemed like an eternity to those watching, but was 15 minutes, Airman Frye tried to resucitate the young man.  But Gilbert died.

Weeks later, the Mr. Pina's family asked to meet with Gary. When they did, they thanked him.

San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Edward Garza gave Airman Frye a 2004 Crossroads Award.

NOTE: Earlier this week, a 17 year old, fine young man, 'L.J.' Salavatore, a friend of ours died in a car crash, when a strange car purposely drove in front of his and slammed on their brakes. L.J. swerved to avoid a crash and instead, his car flipped multiple times. - Our thoughts and prayers are with all teens who die such a senseless and untimely death.

John Wells

State employees too often take heat for the few who slack off. Well, John Wells, a Caltrans, CA., maintenance worker not only showed how dedicated a state worker can be, but how heroic one can be.

In January, 2004, John was working when he noticed a home on fire. He quickly learned that there were small children in the home. 4 children who were watching television, unaware of the fire. A fifth child was upstairs, trying to put out the fire that he started while playing with a lighter.

John got the children to his truck and then contacted help. Fortunately, a fire unit had been in the area and was able to respond quickly.

John received a letter of appreciation from Governor Schwarzenegger.

J. Gordon Cooney, Jr. & Michael L. Banks

Crime fighting duos usually conjur images of Batman and Robin or Holmes and Watson. Not 2 partners of a multi-million, highly respected law firm.
Yet, these 2 men proved themselves to be incredible defenders of true justice with 15 years of pro bono legal work that resulted in the freeing of an innocent man, John Thompson.

Thompson knew that he did not kill New Orleans businessman, Ray Liuzza in 1984. But he was found guilty of murder based upon eyewitness testimony and not much else. - In 1988, Cooney and Banks, associates at the time, wanted to try a death penalty case. They initially believed that Thompson was probably guilty, but that he did not deserve to die. Eventually, they found evidence of prosecutor and judicial conduct that should not have happened. Weeks before he was to die, a detective found that recovered blood from the crime scene which could prove his innocence was withheld from the defense at the original trial. It also seemed that a witness against Thompson was in fact the murderer. Unfortunately, that man was shot to death during a crime. Another witness who had left the area out of fear, returned to testify that the murderer that she saw did not fit Thompson's description.

Cooney and Banks spent over 1 and 1/2 million dollars in defense of this man, on a pro bono (free of charge) basis. Many lawyers and staff from their law firm joined the efforts to free Mr. Thompson. And he was eventually freed.

How often do we say that justice is blind or that the wealthy and powerful care little for the average man's plight? - Well, in this case, we tip our hats to Mr. Cooney and Mr. Banks, both, true, Special Heroes.

Sam Boyden

Especially now with gas prices making our wallets hurt, we should perhaps focus on what is not hurting us: some defective tires. And we have Sam Boyden to thank fo rthat.

Most of us have heard of the famous Firestone tire problem, where approximately 6 1/2/ million ATX and Wilderness tires were recalled. - What you might not know is that Sam was largely responsible for seeing that this happened.

Mr. Boyden was an employee at State Farm Insurance where he was a researcher. He noticed a pattern of accidents involving Firestone ATX tires on Ford Explorers. It was high. He contacted the National Highway Safety Administration. But nothing happened. A car buff, himself, Sam knew that this problem was unusual and alarming. He continued pressing the NHSA and eventually the matter was investigated. Sam even testified before Congress.

But is he a hero? Not if you ask him. But if you ask those whose lives are the better and safer for it, the answer is a resounding, 'Yes'.

3 Doors Down

 Who among the over 30-group, at least, has not at least once thought of rock and roll musicians as a bunch of 'druggies' obsessed with sex, money, and most of all, their own pleasures?

Well, Brad Arnold, Chris Henderson, and Matt Roberst, of 3 Doors Down have just re-proved the fallacy of the above for at least many/most of the rock and rollers.
On May 17, 2004, they announced plans to start a charity called the Better Life Foundation, whose goals will be to help provide the basics of some place to live, food, and medical care to children in need. They have alraedy donated approximately $90,000 to existing charities. They plan to donate a portion of ticket sales from their next album's road tour, to the Better Life Foundation.

So when they come to an area near you, why not support their efforts?

Mike Gorman

We often speak of police officers and firefighters being willing 'to risk life and limb' for others. Nowhere is this more ironic or true than of Mike Gorman, a 30-something with quite an ambition to help others, while dismissing his own problems.

Mike was born with a limb problem that resulted in a transtibial amputation and a prosthesis.
But that was not going to prevent him from fulfilling his dream of helping others. At 15, he became involved with the Middlesex County volunteer fire department and by 17, he was an EMT.
At 18 he tried to become a firefighter, but his artificial limb prevented him from becoming one.

Not one to 'lie down' and take things easy, Mike decided to become a tractor trailer driver. But his artificial limb, again seemed to be against him. Mike fought for his right to drive and proved that he could do so, safely. So, he drove 'big rigs' for a while.

After years as a police dispatcher, Mr. Gorman began work at Kean University where he was eventually allowed to apply for the police department. Overcoming more medical problems, Mike graduated 4th in his class of 35 cadets.

He works on campus at Kean University. Along the way, Mike has saved people's lives, and delivered babies. He is also, still a paramedic. And, above all else, a true inspiration.