For those of you who have read my monthly blog before, you might be surprised by this month’s subject. Joan Allen didn’t serve in the military. As far as I know, she never saved anyone’s life. The only combat she ever experienced was being the mother of three boys who are, to say the least, no shrinking violets. But Joanie was an Everyday Hero to all of us who knew her. She greeted everyone with a smile and addressed life with a positiveness that rubbed off on all those around her.
We lost Joan last month. It was a mere two weeks from diagnosis to her passing. Her body was riddled with cancer and her physical and emotional pain must have been horrendous. She had everything to live for. Her friends loved her. Her sons, daughters-in-law, sister, mother, brother-in-law, nephew, niece, and grandchildren adored her. In the forty years that I knew Joannie, I never heard one disparaging word about her. To the contrary, she was admired, appreciated, and loved. To the end, she dealt with everyone with grace, courage, and affection.
Two days before she passed, Joanie talked about the exploits of her sons. I teased her about the way she covered for the boys (hers and mine) when they “crossed the line.” She saw it as her job to mother all the kids in the neighborhood. Our sons still rave about the party grills she made for them. In fact, some of the boys got together at Joannie’s house the week before she died and had a party grill event. Don’t ask me what a party grill is. I’ve never seen one, let alone tasted one. But those “delicacies” brought the kids in the neighborhood to Joannie’s house like dogs after a bone.
Doug Allen, Joannie’s oldest son, spoke these words to the standing-room-only crowd at Joan Allen’s service: “You are an army of many. A strongly knit group who have had the opportunity, honor and pleasure of knowing Joanie for decades. You have mingled with her at parties, traveled with her to casinos throughout central New Mexico, playing only penny slot machines, spent hours with her at the bridge or mahjong table, and voyaged with her across the globe to exotic places such as Paris, Prague, Hanoi, and of course, Ruidoso.
“She has proven to be a loyal and tireless friend. I am amazed that she was able to maintain and foster meaningful relationships with people she had met in every phase of her life. She had quality friendships with dear friends who are here today, kindled as early as elementary school, and others that are much newer. It’s not hard to understand, however, why so many people have been attracted to her throughout her life. People were drawn to her honesty, her sincerity and her genuine care and engaging nature.”
Joan Allen was a great lady who brought happiness to all those she knew, who benefited her community through the force of her personality and her sincere caring for those less fortunate, and who has left a legacy for generations to follow. If you believe there’s a heaven and you knew Joanie, then you know without a doubt that she is in a better place today. And she’s probably organizing a fundraiser for some good cause.
As with the protagonists in all of my novels, my monthly EVERYDAY HEROES blog subjects do not leap tall buildings in a single bound. They are everyday people (or organizations, animals) who rise to the occasion when confronted with obstacles. They often risk their lives and/or their reputations to help others.
My subject this month is Moe Berg, who was a professional baseball player during the 1930s and 1940s. You might wonder why I would select a man who didn’t do much to distinguish himself on the playing field. In fact. another player once said of Berg, “He could speak seven languages but couldn’t hit in any of them.” I selected Berg because of his accomplishments off the field. He risked imprisonment and death as a spy while serving with the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the CIA, during World War II.
Moe was no super-hero. He was just a man with flaws, but with guts and a love of country. It has always been individuals like Moe Berg who have made a difference in our lives. Without men and women like Moe Berg, our country would not be what it is.
You don’t need to be a super-athlete, weigh 300 pounds, or be seven feet tall to be an EVERYDAY HERO. You just need to love something or someone enough to risk all to make that something or someone safe. That’s how Moe felt about his country. Please see more about Moe Berg in the link below.
I hope you enjoy reading about Moe Berg, my EVERYDAY HERO this month. If you do, please pass this on and consider subscribing for free to this monthly blog. And, if you enjoy reading about real people who act heroically, consider reading one of my seven thrillers.
Thanks for your support.
How many times have you heard someone say, “You dirty dog” or “You’re worse than an animal?” Phrases like these demean animals and imply that humans who behave badly are animal-like, less human. Further, they imply that individuals who are less human and more animal-like lack nobility and are incapable of human traits such as courage, bravery, generosity, love, or kindness. My EVERYDAY HEROES blog this month puts the lie to such implications.
I’ve written about animals before in this blog as well as in my novels. I have shown how dogs and on one occasion a bear displayed incredible behavior that would have been admired in a man or woman. My EVERYDAY HERO this month is a stray dog that acts in a manner that is not only heroic but also incredibly noble. I don’t even know this dog’s name or where it might be today. But what I do know is that its act of bravery and love is an example for all of us “superior” humans.
I suspect very few of us would have believed an animal capable of doing what this dog did. In an incredibly dangerous environment, one which would have caused any clear-thinking man or woman to hesitate to act, this dog goes to the aid of an injured dog. As with human EVERYDAY HEROES, I don’t know exactly what it is that motivates heroic behavior. But I do recognize heroism when I see it. What this animal did was heroic, and what it did must have been motivated by something other than instinct. This was more than an act of heroism; it was an act of love.
So the next time you hear someone speak derogatorily about an animal, or you see someone treat an animal cruelly, be an EVERYDAY HERO and stand up for what’s right. You might even share this story.
Joseph Badal is the author of seven suspense novels, including The Pythagorean Solution, Evil Deeds, Terror Cell, The Nostradamus Secret, The Lone Wolf Agenda, Shell Game, and Ultimate Betrayal. His next novel, Borderline, will be released in early 2015. He also writes short stories which have been published in anthologies, including Uncommon Assassins and Someone Wicked.