I stumbled across a clip of Kevin Bacon reprising his last dance from the movie Footloose and it reminded me of the soundtrack from the movie. I further chased down that rabbit hole and ended up listening to a bunch of songs from that movie and that time period, which led me to the Bonnie Tyler song “Holding Out For A Hero”. Long story short, I ended up looking at how many songs have been written about becoming, finding or looking for a hero, rescuer, savior, etc. I both was and wasn’t surprised to see that there are a ton of them over the past 30 years, from David Bowie, to Bonnie Tyler to the Foo Fighters and more. Some of these focus on looking for heroes, some on being someone’s hero, and some celebrating the sacrifices of first responders, military, etc. The key point is that we really celebrate and need heroes in our lives and in our culture…today more than ever.
I bring this up because, I saw three examples today of being a hero that really spoke to me. The first was in a Washington Post article about the “Cajun Navy” by Sally Jenkins. It can be found at this link.
For those of you not familiar with them, they are an unofficial group of outdoorsmen, mainly from Louisiana, but from across many locations, who bring their boats to flood locations and help evacuate people. They are very effective because of their background fishing and duck hunting in the bayous of Louisiana and are experience in navigating treacherous waters. They have helped hundreds of flood victims over the years and they do it just because they can. Granted they aren’t the only private citizens helping out like that, but they are a distinct group that, although, unofficial, are recognizable enough to reference.
The second was a video of professional wrestler John Cena being surprised by a number of people that he has helped over the years with his message of Never Give Up. He is active in programs like the “Make-a-Wish” foundation and others, and particularly is active in cancer treatment charities. Cricket Wireless put the event together, which can be seen at this link. What is especially touching is the fact that he hasn’t done this for the fame or “good karma points”, but rather because of the fame and the belief that it is important to use your talents, your opportunities and your abilities to reach out and help others as you can.
Finally, there are two other sports figures that continue to impress me with the way that they reach out to people in need for the same reason, because it is important to do what you can, where you can, as you are able. They are J.J. Watt and Tim Tebow. The story that made me think of the two of them was about J.J. Watt starting a Youcaring.com campaign for Houston relief efforts and raising over $10M in just over 3 days. He did it because he was frustrated at not being able to physically be there and help, so he decided to do what he could through his social media followers. There are plenty of stories about Watt and Tebow both, including Tebow’s charity work and his unwavering Christian walk and example despite the inevitable blowback he gets from the media.
The thing about all of these examples is that each of these people is doing what they can, where they can, as they can, with no expectation of anything in return and no hidden motives. In a society that celebrates the loud, the brash, the ego-centric and self-centered, we need to be exposed to these and other examples of everyday heroes to remind us that somewhere out there, someone is holding out for a hero…and we just might be the person who can be that for them.