Reluctant heroes

Sunday, March 30, 2008

In all of the gloom and destruction of the flooding and other recent natural disasters, there is one particularly bright spot: all the individuals who pitched in to help those in need just because it was the right thing to do. For the most part these are reluctant heroes who do not seek any special attention. But goodness knows they deserve it.

One example is FedEx driver Jay McMullin, who happened to be on a flooded highway west of Jackson just as a pickup was washed off the edge of the road. McMullin stopped, waded in the rushing water, took the hand of Odell Bunch and helped him to safety. Then McMullin finished his delivery route -- and even helped another driver as well -- with soaked shoes and socks.

Because Southeast Missourian photographer Aaron Eisenhauer was in the right place at the right time, McMullin's efforts were recorded in photos -- photos that soon were being displayed on Web sites around the nation and world and then published in newspapers.

But countless other heroes slogged through rising floodwaters as well. Some helped with sandbags. Some assisted with rescues. Some looked after pets. Some provided food and shelter. And don't forget those who, once the water began to recede, faced the daunting task of cleaning up and salvaging water-soaked mementos from before the floods.

To all of those selfless individuals who responded so admirably in a crisis: Thank you. You have again demonstrated that we are capable of so much good when times are bad.

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