Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hope For A Better Year

Hoping for better things to come, while finding rays of light beyond the headlines on a quiet Thursday morning.

The six million members of the Church of God in Christ have an unexpected, but welcome, newly ordained minister: Ex-KKK leader to minister in black majority church

[Johnny Lee Clary] had joined the KKK at the age of 14 after his father committed suicide and his mother abandoned him. And for 16 years, Clary advanced in the white supremacist organization, all the way up to becoming an imperial wizard.
After going through a time of torment, anger, and disgust, however, Clary left the KKK and struggled to make an honest living. He turned to God after feelings of guilt led him to depression and on the verge of committing suicide.
He has since become a guest speaker at numerous schools and churches across the nation, and lectures on occasion for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, educating officers on the mindset of white supremacists and how to best fight against domestic terrorism.
“Yes I made mistakes in life, and a person cannot go back in time and change the past, but he can certainly do something about today in order to build a better tomorrow,” Clary says today.
Heroism year-in-review: CNN finds 5 little-reported stories of heroic co-workers whose quick-thinking and initiative earlier this year deserve greater acclaim. Despite the 2009-in-review framework CNN sets for their article, their first candidate was in the news for an action she actually performed the previous year, back in 2008, as she brought a North Carolina co-worker back to life from no less than five heart attacks:
...Everyone in the office rushed to Marlowe's side. Knowing he was a diabetic, they were looking for ways to get his blood sugar up, thinking he had just passed out. But cashier [Debi] Coffman looked at Marlowe and knew it was much more serious. "I knew that he was dead," Coffman said. "I knew he was."
Coffman and another co-worker, Larry Garrett, began performing CPR on Marlowe. "[Garrett] couldn't get any pulse," Coffman said, "and he hit him in the chest and started compressions." Coffman and Garrett are not sure how long they worked on Marlowe before they revived him.
... Coffman would revive him three times before emergency crews arrived on the scene. "I told him, 'I will not let you go,'" Coffman said.
Coffman says she isn't a hero, but she is proud she knew what to do. Proud and glad that she doesn't have to think about what would have happened if she hadn't put her training to use.
Their second story is really full of heroes, but singles out the actions of Arizona's Daniel Anderson, whose initiative helped raise sufficient funds to buy his co-worker, one-legged cancer survivor Gregory Lewis, the new prosthetic leg he so desperately needed:
"He has been walking on what looked like a stick and a brick for close to 30 years. It was starting to crack and part of it was held together with electrical tape," Anderson said.
Anderson found Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics in Chandler and a sympathetic employee, Tyler Ritchey. "When I met the guy, I knew we had to do something," said Ritchey, who also is an amputee. "I don't know how he (Lewis) did it for so long. When he walked he dragged [the artificial limb] on the floor to keep it from coming off."
After Anderson raised a $1,000 down payment from friends and family members, Ritchey arranged a partial donation by the company and manufacturer.
David Hyatt, manager of the Fiesta Mall Dillard's, spearheaded fundraising at the store, which included employee donations and proceeds from the sale of surplus store fixtures. One worker contacted Ecco Shoes, which donated a pair to Lewis.
"I saw the lights coming down the tunnel, and I had to do something," said the third hero, Houston Transit worker Eliot Swainson, as his volunteer work in a Washington DC train station saved a woman's life, when she fell onto the tracks right in front of an oncoming train:
[Swainson] was able to direct the woman to safety on the track while a train passed overhead, preventing her from being struck and allowing her to be extricated safely a short time later.
[H]e explained to the woman -- as he had been trained to do just the day before by Metro officers -- to stay as close to the edge of the track as possible, under the overhang adjacent to the platform in order to avoid being hit by the train. Metro authorities then cleared the platform and the train, cut the power to the tracks, and eventually got the woman to safety. She was transported to a local hospital "with non life-threatening injuries," according to a Metro spokesman.
"This was a new world for me. You still have that fear factor about what's down below there, and what not to mess with. But we had to do something to get her to safety," he explained. Swainson will now head home to his wife and daughter, who turned three years old today. "I'm just happy to have had the opportunity to see somebody safe," he said of the incident.
A series of wonderful coincidences underline the fourth hero's story, as hair stylist Carol Morgan is shocked to see her co-worker collapse to the ground. Reflexes kick in, and she draws upon years of CPR training... even though she had never before performed CPR in an emergency situation:

Morgan repeatedly delivered chest compressions and rescue breathing to Sue’s unresponsive body. When performing CPR, Morgan said one worry is that you will hurt the person. She said there is always a possibility of breaking a rib or bruising the person, but it is better they have a broken rib and still be alive.
"I wasn’t scared until it was all over,” said Morgan. Afterward, she wondered if she had done everything right.
“I feel in my heart the Lord put me in the right place at the right time,” she said. “He helped me remember all those steps.”
Morgan said “it was strange how everything fell into place.” She normally does not work past noon on Wednesdays. She happened to have the day off from her other job, which is why she stayed later at Innovations.
“I still think that God was watching over us that day,” she said.

The article explains her long-time CPR training:
In addition to being a hair stylist, Morgan works at Central State Consumer Services of Oklahoma. Because she works with persons with disabilities, she is required to know CPR. She has to take the course annually to keep her Red Cross certification current.Morgan had just taken her refresher course in May. She first learned CPR in 1998, when she worked for the Cherokee Nation headstart for a couple of years.
Morgan said she wants to encourage people to become CPR certified. She said you never know when you might need to use it.
The fifth heroic act, out of Trinidad, ends on a sad note. Who can imagine the thoughts racing through the mind of young Shiva Jagroop as he says goodbye to his co-worker, at his funeral.

[Earl Rampersad, married father of a two-year old boy] pushed Jagroop out of harm’s way and took the full blow of the glass panes which fell on them at their Caroni workplace on Wednesday. Rampersad was already dead when paramedics pulled him from under the broken glass some time later.
Gaitri Hosein, an employee at Delta Glass Ltd, where he was employed, described Rampersad as a pillar of strength and a hardworking man.
’He was willing to do anything to make a person happy. He was a humble man who did more than what he was expected to do,’ she said.
Doing more than expected of us, making the ordinary extra-ordinary, seems as good a New Year's Resolution as anyone could look for. I adopt it as mine for this coming year... just like I did last year. Only this time, I hope to keep it...

Happy New Year to all our readers, and Best Wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2010!

1 comment:

Dag said...

Happy New Year, everyone. Looking forward to the year coming.

Best wishes,