The two heroes of Sutherland, Texas
The pictures above hopefully will help erase the other less comforting images from last Sunday in Sutherland, Texas. Wearing the hat is Johnnie Langendorff, 27, who drove his pickup in the chase after the vindictive gunman left the church in an attempt to escape the immediate area. To the right is Stephen Willeford, 55, who had grabbed his rifle and run out of his house barefooted when he heard the sound of gun shots coming from the church.
He confronted the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, leaving the church and managed to wound him as the young man ran to his car. Kelley immediately raced away, but the older man, seeing Langendorff sitting in his pickup nearby, asked for help and they started the ninety-five mph chase down a local Farm to Market road.
Eventually Kelley lost control of his car and ended up in a ditch, then shot himself. Willeford and Langendorff guarded by waiting nearby until the Texas State Patrol arrived.
Pictures of the two heroes were taken the next evening at a local vigil for the victims of the tragedy at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.
Although praised by both strangers and neighbors as a hero, Willeford insists that he doesn’t think of himself like that. “‘I’m no hero. All I want to stress today, is the people at that church, they’re friends of mine, they’re family, and every time I heard a shot I knew that probably represented a life.”
Three Maine roofers stand for the playing of
the national anthem. (Michelle Lyons Cossar)
On Saturday, October 14, 2017 three roofers were working on a house near a high school football stadium. When they heard the familiar strains of the Star Spangled Banner, they immediately stopped working, stood up, faced the flag down on the nearby field, and put their hands over their hearts while the anthem played. They had no idea anyone was watching or taking their picture, but they stood to honor their flag and their country. According to one of the men, they did it just because it was the “right thing to do.“
A woman attending the game happened to see them, took their picture, posted it to Facebook.
Everyone involved, workers, camera operators, and Facebook observers, understands that walking in or choosing beauty involves loyalty to the ideals of the country they live in.
“Because I have been able to build a reputation as a talented player, I have been able to build futures. Because I am able to play, I am able to make a difference. Because I have been blessed with a talent, I also have been given a responsibility.”
When less than admirable football stars stay in the news week after week, perhaps we need to spend some extra time recognizing stellar NFL players like Warrick Dunn and Deshaun Watson. No doubt there are many others, but these two deserve to share the spotlight today. And we who watch from the sidelines need to understand that the media revels in bad news and mostly ignores the good stories.
Warrick Dunn used his talents on the football field for Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to earn a scholarship to Florida State University. At FSU, he not only played well, he took care of his five younger siblings after their mother, a single parent, was killed in the line of duty as a police officer and a part-time security guard. She had been working extra hours to buy a house for her family.
Graduation brought the opportunity to play professional football with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later, the Atlanta Falcons. He used his opportunity with above average income during those years to help others and to establish a charitable foundation. A more complete story of his life is available as an autobiography, Running for My Life.
One of those whom he helped, was Deshaun Watson, a star football player at Gainesville High School in Georgia. Dunn found out that Deshaun’s mother was helping build houses with Habitat for Humanity, hoping to earn one for herself and her four children in 2006. Warrick Dunn stepped in to buy a four bedroom house, fully furnished for the Watsons. It was so fully furnished that even the refrigerator was well stocked with food on the day they moved in.
Deshaun finished his education at Gainesville High and then at Clemson University, where he led his team to a national championship. This week he walked out on to the field to play his first game with the Houston Texans.
Deshaun and two of the women he helped.
Instead of depositing his first game check for $27,000, Deshaun divided it into thirds and gave $9,000 each to three of the team’s cafeteria workers who lost everything when Hurricane Harvey flooded their homes.
After all, he had received a lot more than a mere house from his benefactor, Warrick Dunn. He received both inspiration and a good example.
First Lt. Jonathan Rozier loved his wife, Jessica, his baby son, Justin, and his new convertible, a 1999 Toyota Celicia GT, but he left them all behind to serve his country in Iraq. Sadly he never returned.
Jessica ended up selling his car when times got tough for the young widow trying to make ends meet. Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and make hard decisions.
That was in 2003.
In 2017, the baby son begin driving, and she started to daydream about finding his father’s old convertible and buying it for him. Somehow she traced its whereabouts to Pleasant Grove, Utah and posted a picture of the car and its first owner on the town’s FaceBook page along with the car’s history.
Pleasant Grove’s leader of the patriotic group, Follow The Flag, saw the posting and began reporting the story among his wide circle of acquaintances. Sure enough, one of Kyle Fox’s friends happened to see the car, the one day it was parked on the neighborhood street instead of in the owner’s garage.
The fairly new owner of the Celicia GT, Jorge Cruz, had dreamed about owning that very model since he was a teenager himself. But when he heard about Justin, he readily agreed to sell.
“I believe nothing happens for just chance. Something has a purpose in life, and if you can make somebody happy, do it,” Cruz said. “It’s bittersweet for me, but that’s a good feeling somebody is going to be happy out of this.”
Seeing the Facebook post about buying his father’s car for Justin convinced Cruz to sell it.
Meanwhile, Kyle Fox began a Go Fund Me page to fix up the car before returning it to Justin and his mother in Texas. He said that it was his way of saying “thanks” to Lt. Jonathon Rozier for his sacrifice for our freedom.
Lt. Jonathan Rozier with his son, Justin, before deployment to Iraq.
I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) It’s a good book that touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, love and friendship, Read Here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/09/a-day-to-be-proud-8.php
From UK Daily Mail:
Twin Towers hero who predicted terror attacks led 2,700 to safety… but died as he went back to look for stragglers
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033919/Twin-Towers-hero-predicted-terror-attacks-led-2-700-safety–died-went-look-stragglers.html#ixzz4sOH0w87F
From Conservative Tree House:
A man who was convinced the Twin Towers would be targeted in a terror attack led 2,700 people to safety from the World Trade Center before being killed when he went back in looking for stragglers. Security chief Rick Rescorla […]