Heroes of 2014

First, status toward my goals:

  • Marathon: On Track. Completed week one of the Couch to 5K program on Friday. Week two starts tomorrow.
  • Two Square Yards of Earth: Behind schedule. I might still be able to finish the outline by the end of the month, which will put me back on track.
  • 100 Posts: Behind schedule. This is #2 for the year, where I should be on #6. Successfully completing next week’s Your Turn Challenge will put me back on track.

Every year, I post my list of heroes for the previous year. I try to stay away from the obvious: as a general rule, sports figures, military service-members, police officers, firefighters–those whose occupations routinely put them in physical danger–don’t make this list. These folks serve selflessly, to be sure, and we owe many of them a debt of gratitude; but my intent with this list is to honor those who didn’t have to step up, but chose to do so anyway. I’ll post more detail on each of the heroes below in future posts, but here they are in no particular order:

Vicky Beeching: I’ve already posted about her, but this young woman has been a popular Christian music star for many years, routinely playing to full churches and event centers across the U.S. and her native Britain. In August, she came out as gay.

Kailash Satyarthi: He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai, one of my Heroes of 2013, in 2014. Truth be known, he’s been a hero for a long time–he’s been fighting for children’s rights and against child labor and human trafficking since 1980.

Kyle Maynard: I’ve written about him as well, but this intrepid young man embraces every challenge life throws at him–despite (or perhaps because of) having no arms or legs. In 2012, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa; he plans to climb Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America, this year. I include him this year because I discovered him in 2014.

Maya Angelou: We lost her in May, but to ignore such an extraordinary woman would be to ignore one of humanity’s great representatives.

Two Muslim boys in Moradabad, India: I caught this news story by chance in September: a pair of Muslim boys died trying to save a Hindu girl from drowning in India. At a time when the word Muslim seems to be used more and more as a synonym for terrorist in the west, it seems important to recognize these boys.

And honorable mention goes to:

Robin Williams: another beloved figure we lost in 2014. I can’t call him a hero because of the manner of his death, but his life inspired millions.

Edward Snowden: I believe he acted according to his conscience, and I believe he exposed practices that should have been brought to light, doing so at significant risk to himself. I’m disappointed he ran, but I can’t blame him for doing so.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.