Commentary: Spot the Heroes

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Angelica R. Silva-Garza
  • 8th Fighter Wing Plans and Programs
While over-the-top villains and superheroes steal the spotlight, others, the real heroes, shy away from it. It is the reason most people know names like Tony Stark, Peter Parker, and Bruce Wayne, yet they do not recognize the names of Tech. Sgt. Tony Whitley, Airman 1st Class Alex Tilling and Airman 1st Class Steven Fried.

So trade your over-marketed superhero hype conversation for something real, tangible and genuine. Talk about the three 8th Fighter Wing members that saved a man's life while on their kayaking trip Aug. 4.

Plot: On a sunny August weekend, a Korean life was at peril at the evil mercy of the villainous Gyeongho River. A fun kayaking trip turned almost fatal, as the man found himself without a life-vest fighting the river's deep and powerful pull.

Cast: All members of the drowning man's team watched in horror as his body was dragged by a powerful undercurrent. Eerily silent, a raft full of shocked people floated nearby.

Action scene: It is at this precise moment that these three 8th Fighter Wing personnel left the safety of their kayaks, plunged into the river, and pushed through the current to reach the man. Taking hold of his arms and T-shirt, all three helped him reach the surface to resume a hurried, panicked breath. Then, they escorted him to the raft and helped him out of the water.

Life lesson: Once safe in the raft and back in a life-vest, the man quickly thanked his heroes. In a heart-felt hug of gratitude, all cultural and language barriers became invisible as the man reclaimed his life.

As movies and comics play with our ideas on bravery and good versus evil, the real world deals with life and death in more unambiguous ways. Life does not have a script, nor does it collect our mistakes in comic blooper reels.

Life has real heroes and the occasional rolling credits.