Much of our daily diet of news deals with the sensational or negatives news story.
Wars, natural disasters, political scandals and crime often dominate the national and world coverage while celebrities, some of whom are famous simply for their last names like Hilton or Kardashian, often headline the entertainment news.
There are many others who deserve recognition for their behind-the-scenes work during tragedies or an emergency such as last year's Hurricane Sandy, which pounded the New Jersey Coast and New York City, or the bombings at this year's Boston Marathon. Those who do extraordinary things in dire circumstances certainly deserve accolades.
Just last week, a woman who also happened to have a famous last name connected to sports, rose above a group of bystanders to perform an act of heroism. Cristina Torre, the daughter of former big-leaguer and Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre, was biking in a Brooklyn neighborhood and stopped to have coffee at a cupcake shop. She soon became aware that a 1-year-old had climbed out of a window and was dangling from an awning next door to the yogurt store.
Cristina Torre didn't hesitate, rushing to the scene just before the child fell from the second-floor. Cristina made sure she was positioned in the right place at the critical time to save the child from serious injury.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, recognizes people who perform heroic acts in civilian life.
Steel baron Andrew Carnegie established the program after a mine disaster that killed 181 people and to date, 9,558 persons have been honored since the fund's inception in 1904. More than $34.6 million has also been awarded to help those who were disabled, or to the dependents of those killed.
Extraordinary deeds don't always have to involve a crisis situation or a dramatic life-and-death event. We are fortunate to have people living among us who perform great service to their communities. The Mauch Chunk Trust Company has established a program to honor the heroism of our local servants. Since the Community Heroes Program began 13 years ago, 85 people have been recognized for their special work within the community.
Last week, four persons - Alfred Feuerstein and Rick Grant, both of Jim Thorpe; George Taylor of Tamaqua; and C. Jean Zimmerman of Weatherly - were added to their ranks during a recognition banquet at the Mahoning Valley Country Club. During the special evening, each hero was presented with an engraved award and $100 donation was given to an organization or charity.
Heroic acts can occur within seconds, as Christina Torre's did last week in New York City, or they can be a compilation of good works over years of service, as in the case of our local heroes. Whether it's someone like Cristina who finds herself on the big city media stage, or our local heroes, their humble reactions are quite similar.
"I didn't really know what was going to happen," Christina told the press. "You just move into action - you don't really think about it."
Our local heroes made similar comments while making sure their achievements remain in the proper perspective.
"I learned at an early age that it was my duty to give back," said Grant.
"If I could do my life over, I'd do the same things," said Feuerstein."
"We all have to work together. When you see groups and organizations who need help, jump in and help," Taylor said.
Well done and well said.
By Jim Zbick