We love stories about heroes. They inspire us — while at the same time we pray that dire circumstances requiring further heroism remain at a minimum.
These days we have a bounty of heroes to salute.
Let’s start with the teenagers recognized by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Do the Right Thing awards. They are saluted for good deeds ranging from rescuing a drowning child to returning money that had been dropped, performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking friend or cleaning up canals.
They are: Brian Klepper, 17, a senior at Lorenzo Walker Technical High School; Shawn Craig, a sixth-grader at North Naples Middle School; Victor Meza Jr., a seventh-grader at Manatee Middle School; Brian Davenport, a seventh-grader, Sarah Davenport, an eighth-grader, and Mathew Hayes, a seventh-grader, all from Golden Gate Middle School; Rudy Saucedo, a freshman at Gulf Coast High School; Marshall Harbec, a junior at Lely High School; Brian Hunt, a senior at Palmetto Ridge High School; and Vincent Buonpane, a senior at Gulf Coast High School.
Meanwhile, an adult, a firefighter with the Bonita Springs Fire Department, came to the rescue of a 92-year-old in a fire in a second-floor apartment at a retirement center next to the canal where the firefighter and friends were fishing.
To Jason Burgess, steering the boat to shore and running in to save the man at Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers was not heroism — just part of an instinctive, team effort with fellow anglers.
Only two days later, on Tuesday, Collier County Sheriff’s Cpl. Hal Hodes, a former Navy diver, saw smoke and flames consuming an apartment at Farm Worker Village in Immokalee. After several tries, and several trips outside for gulps of air, he managed to bring out an unconscious man, who was hospitalized, with the help of bystander Cedieu Paulissaint and Deputies Carlo Llorca, Thomas Folden, Lazarito Santos and Travis Radford.
The Sheriff’s Office has nominated all the rescuers for awards.
Another agency officer was ready to serve when called upon when a knock at the door at his home in Golden Gate Estates summoned help for a fallen jogger, who turned out to be Cpl. James Streeter’s pastor. The 10-year veteran of the force used his agency-issued portable defibrillator and CPR to revive Gregory Glenn Ball.
Streeter’s patrol car, which was in his driveway, and others are ably equipped thanks to a partnership with the American Heart Association.
Streeter, too, is up for an agency lifesaving award — his second with the defibrillator.
The name of Streeter and Ball’s church? Destiny.
The courage and selflessness of some people — trained or not — when confronted with danger to our fellow man never ceases to amaze.
As USAirways Capt. Chesley Sullenberger of Hudson River fame makes the rounds of national TV talk shows to plug his new book, a life story, we have plenty of heroes forging life stories right here at home.