In modern life, it is not hard to find examples of courage. Our soldiers in war-torn countries come to mind, as do first responders such as firefighters, police officers and EMTs. But sometimes the most breathtaking examples of courage come from ordinary people.
Miles Eckert is an eight-year-old boy who found a $20 bill on the way into a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Toledo, Ohio. When he saw Lt. Col. Frank Daly in the restaurant, he handed him the twenty with a note thanking him for his military service. That gesture alone would have shown a great deal of fortitude for an eight-year-old, to whom $20 would be a huge amount of cash. But Miles’ true courage stems from the fact that he made this gift in honor of his father Andy Eckert, who was killed in Iraq when Miles was only five weeks old. (Source: CBS Evening News) Although Miles is only a small boy, he has a giant heart.
Courage also looks like Dr. Jerry Umanos, who was shot to death at the hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he had worked to help young children for the past seven years. A pediatrician, Dr. Umanos could have spent his life in relative ease with a private practice in a well-to-do suburb of Chicago. Instead he chose to practice in the underserved inner city neighborhood of Lawndale. His family said Dr. Umanos had felt a call to be a missionary and that his work in poor and dangerous locations was his way of answering that call. (Source: Chicago Tribune, Friday, April 25, 2014)
Another brave soul is young Sammy Nahorny, who is undergoing cancer treatment at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago. While many children are afflicted with this terrible scourge, Sammy’s situation is unique. Because his treatment has rendered him literally radioactive, he cannot be touched even by his own parents. I consider his parents equally brave as they must watch Sammy’s progress from afar until it is safe for them to touch him. As his mother put it, “Not being able to snuggle him completely breaks my heart.” (Source: Chicago Tribune, Friday, April 25, 2014)
Every day, ordinary people face illness, poverty, loneliness, danger and death with quiet dignity and courage. We can learn an important lesson from their example and strive to live our own lives with hope, kindness and resilience.