Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward
Nope, your calendar ain’t broken. Imma change things up by posting my Heroes on a Tuesday for this holiday week. I’ll be back and better than Ezra in December with the heroes and the zeroes tucked back into their regularly scheduled Friday edition.
And now, the heroes . . .
Serenity Now- A stray German Shepherd was collected from the side of the road in Chatham-Kent Ontario recently, after passersby contacted a nearby shelter. When an animal control officer responded to the report, he found the pretty lady keeping five little kittens safe and warm. The kittens are in the express lane to adoption ready while Serenity’s phone has been blowing up ever since. She’s estimated to be about two years old, and she’ll be ready for her forever home next week.
Lord knows I love to make fun of Kristen “My life is soooo perfect” Bell, but I gotta give props this week. Bell took her Instagram page- 12 million followers strong- and turned it into a way to help teachers with school supplies. Her project is called #FeatureTeacherFriday. Girl got game.
Yes He Cam- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is muddling through a pretty forgettable year on the field. But he’s being his usual All-Pro self off of it as he readies himself for the eighth annual “Cam’s Thanksgiving Jam”, where he’s gonna help feed more than 1,000 underprivileged kids. When it comes to the Charlotte community, Newton is a rock star. He also heads up celebrity kickball and 7 on 7 youth football tournaments as well as healthy day of service events. The dude is the antidote to TMZ.
Bagels 101 manager Vinnie Proscia is proof that not all crazy bagel shop guys are created equal. A customer dialed him up recently to ask if she’d left her electronic key fob there. Diana Chong was that customer, and she was in a bind since she’d arrived at her destination and was unable to turn the car back on without it. So Vinnie delivered them, from his bagel shop in Long Island to where Chong was staying . . in Pennsylvania. Funny how his crazy didn’t have a chance of going viral.
Tyler Stallings in 2046!- Tyler Stallings was four years old when he first learned about homeless veterans. So for the last four years (One term in the oval office . . oh by the way) the kid has been doing his small part, with big results. He makes “Hero Bags” which are essentially grooming kits with all the essentials. For the winter, the bags will also include a blanket, hat, gloves and lip balm. He’s handed out over 3,000 bags while bringing in more than $50,000 dollars and raising awareness. And I did mention he was eight years old . . right?
The Bay Village Police department in Ohio is asking for canned food donations in lieu of parking ticket fines. They aren’t the first department to do so, but it’s an idea that is catching on across the country. Partnering up with Bay Food Ministry, the police department collected 47,392 pounds of food last year alone.
The Real Santa Clause- When Mike Howard lost his battle with cancer last year, the folks in Harlan County Kentucky lost their real life Santa. For forty two years, Howard had dressed up as Santa, delivering thousands of gifts to the community’s poorest families. But there must have been some magic in that old silk hat Mike wore, because his son will be taking up the reins this season. Jordan Howard will don the red suit and carry on the tradition of “Mountain Santa”. He’s been busy in his workshop for over a month now and will have about about 4,000 presents to deliver by mid December. Peeps like these are why I will always believe in Santa Claus.
This last story is the best case scenario to an epidemic that’s had this country in a choke hold for more than two decades. It’s yet another story about a kid living on the fringe, until his feelings of isolation become too much. It’s yet another story about guns. But this story, which happened all the way back in May, has a much different ending than so many others.
Keanon Lowe was busy living the life he had imagined in January of 2017. The Gresham Oregon native was working as an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers when he got a phone call that would change his life forever. Taylor Martinek, his best friend since their days at Jesuit High School, had died of an overdose after taking a lethal dose of fentanyl.
Shattered by the news, Lowe picked up the pieces by moving forward. He returned home and took a job at Parkrose High School coaching football and track and field. Last year, he became the school’s security guard as well. He was a living legend in his home state, having played wide receiver for the Oregon Ducks, but that’s not what brought him home.
Lowe saw a community in need, and this mattered more than a peach NFL gig ever could. To him. Because with some people, status is all about living right.
And so it was that Lowe was preparing his team for a district track meet when Angel Granados-Diaz walked into a fourth period government class; wearing a trench coat and carrying a shotgun. Lowe never missed a beat as he brought the student into a clench while wrestling the shot gun away from him. And then he hugged the kid, who is getting the help he needs now, instead of being immortalized as a monster.
“I told him I was there to save him . . I was there for a reason . . and that this is a life worth living . .”
It’s easy to lose our better angels to the hopeless depths of indifference and division. And then the fates bring us someone like Keanon Lowe, who turned a tragic ending into a lifetime of new beginnings. The right person in the right place so that the wrong time would never have a chance. And for one blessed day, flowers were given to the living instead of to the dead.
When faced with the prospect of just another day happening all over again, that hug was busy speaking a different language altogether. It spoke kindly to the wicked fates, two simple words uttered in the silence of a heroic embrace.