Heroes in our midst

There are heroes everywhere. Every day people doing ordinary things extraordinarily. Every day people doing extraordinary things as if it’s their ordinary thing to do.

On Saturdays, I like to celebrate a few of those people I meet throughout the week. Here are some of my heroes…

Last night I spoke at a gala held at the University of Calgary. The event was a special running of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play “The Love of the Nightingale” which for that evening, was dedicated to raising funds for the United Way of Calgary and Area. The organizers wanted to highlight the importance of making a difference, and of acting as a community to address something that has a direct and dire impact upon 50% of our population and 100% of us as a whole — violence against women. The play is a powerful re-telling of an ancient Greek myth that resonates in our world today where the statistical probability of a woman — any woman — becoming a victim of sexual assault is one in three.

Alexis Berezan, Nilima Ajaikumar and everyone involved in organizing the event, as well as the cast and crew of The Love of the Nightingale are heroes.

On Tuesday morning I presented a course I created, “Homelessness: A Fresh Perspective” to a group of officers with the Calgary Police Service. The officers shared their perspectives, their learnings and their ideas on what is happening on our streets, as well as what it takes to help individuals retain housing after street life. The course is part of CPS’s initiative to find innovative and compassionate ways to work with  individuals who are street engaged or have recently moved away from street life and is indicative of the Chief’s belief in addressing social issues with social responsive solutions.

Chief Rick Hanson and the officers of District 3 are heroes.

My friend NR is away and had asked me to help her lease out a condo she owns by giving prospective renters a viewing, gathering references of those interested in leasing it and ultimately, organizing the signing of the lease. On Thursday night, I met with the couple who will be NR’s new tenants. Recently arrived from Iran, they are both professional engineers, eager to begin a new life here in Canada. They are staying with their cousin and her husband and 3 years old daughter, which is where I went to get the lease signed. The hospitality, warmth and graciousness of both the couple renting the condo and their hosts was delightful. I spent an hour with new Canadians Thursday night and was inspired.

New Canadians are heroes. They move to this foreign land with few belongings and courageously begin again with the hope of building a new life where they can prosper and participate in our communities.

And… because I like to give you something inspiring to watch…

Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs — but that’s never stopped him. He is an inspiration and a hero. The video below is a 60 Minutes interview with him, and this LINK will take you to one of my favourite short films ever — The Butterfly Circus. Give yourself the gift of 20 minutes of inspiration and watch The Butterfly Circus.

9 thoughts on “Heroes in our midst”

  1. My parents came to Canada with $23 in their pockets and didn’t yet have the ability to speak English. Their story always blows me out of the water. I’m not sure I could do the same. They learned English from watching TV commercials and luckily met a Canadianized German woman the day they landed in Canada. I’m first generation Canadian and forever in debt to my parents who had the courage to start a new life in a beautiful country.


  2. Nick Vujicic’s story is extraordinary. Talk about inspirational! He has a marvelous, disarming sense of humor. I’m struck by the the smile in early pictures of him. Also by all that he’s done with his life, with so much passion. God’s grace at work.


    1. It is — and if you get a chance to watch The Butterfly Circus Joanne — do — it is stunning. I used it a lot when I was teaching self-esteem at the homeless shelter. it definitely gives you a different perspective!


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