In saying goodbye to 2018, Homes for Heroes wants to recognize some of the amazing things heroes did in 2018. While we cannot possibly mention every act performed by our heroes this past year, we feel it’s important to show our gratitude by thanking heroes for their service.
From showing others compassion to saving lives, all our heroes — firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military, healthcare professionals and teachers — made tremendous sacrifices, demonstrated incredible bravery and showed the true meaning of serving others.
Teacher Sees a Sign
Teachers routinely go above and beyond for their students. Their drive to empower students to succeed is part of who they are. Just ask this former teacher who continues to help kids in need, even in retirement. But teachers’ good deeds extend far beyond the classroom. One of the most incredible acts of selflessness this year came from a teacher helping a complete stranger. Jeff Lynd, a teacher in Wicomico County, Maryland, saw a photo on Twitter of a woman at a Pittsburgh Penguins game holding a sign indicating she needed a new kidney. Lynd said he had to help and immediately started the process to become a donor. In November, the kidney transplant was successful. Kelly Sowatsky, who received the new kidney, told local reporters she was extremely grateful for her new lease on life. “Sometimes I still don’t believe this is what happened to my story,” she said.
Firefighters Battle California Wildfire
California firefighters had a front row seat to one of the biggest stories of the year as they battled massive wildfires throughout the summer and into early winter. The “Camp Fire” in November destroyed over 150,000 acres, killed at least 86 people and caused an estimated $7.5-10 billion in insured losses. It was the most destructive California wildfire in history to date. As devastating as the fires were, the damage would have been significantly worse had it not been for the dedicated wildfire crews working to protect lives and property. Time and again we heard stories of firefighters battling the blaze, helping evacuate people to safety and doing whatever they could to save those in danger. EMS personnel served countless individuals who were injured or needed treatment for smoke inhalation.
Officer Stops Tragedy Before it Strikes
Law enforcement officers show their heroism in so many ways. In 2018, an NYPD officer saved a man’s life after he was shot in an attempted robbery, and officers in Georgia saved a 3-year-old boy who was found unresponsive in a pool. Sometimes a police officer’s job is just to make someone’s day a little brighter, like officers in Minnesota who bought lemonade from a young boy’s stand after his money was stolen.
Police officers deal with dangerous, unpredictable situations every day. In recognition of one officer, the 2018 IACP Police Officer of the Year award was given to School Resource Officer, Mark Dallas of Dixon, Illinois, for his bravery under pressure. Officer Dallas was honored for stopping a school shooting before students were injured. Officer Dallas heard shots during a graduation practice, ran toward the danger and engaged the shooter, saving many lives in the process.
Nurse Hailed as ‘Guardian Angel’
Healthcare professionals do more than treat illness and injuries. They treat human beings with grace and care, doing whatever they can to improve the lives of those around them. Sometimes that means putting themselves at risk, like a nurse who drove through California wildfires to help patients in need. Sometimes it means showing compassion, like the nurse who collects clothes for patients so they can leave the hospital with dignity.
Other times, being a hero means being ready to help at a moment’s notice. That’s what registered nurse Krista Ryan did when she saw a man collapse on a treadmill at her gym. Ryan recognized the signs of a heart attack, performed CPR and used an AED to treat him before paramedics arrived. The man credits Ryan with saving his life, calling her his guardian angel.
Veterans Helping Veterans
Members of the U.S. military serve every day to protect our basic freedoms and way of life. But their heroism isn’t constrained to the battlefield. In 2018 we saw veterans helping others out of poverty, and another veteran helping those battling addiction. We also saw the power of soldiers helping soldiers, like a former Army corporal building tiny homes for homeless veterans. U.S. Army Cpl. Chris Stout was wounded in Afghanistan and returned home to his own challenges. When he saw fellow veterans struggling with homelessness, he was motivated to help. Through the Veterans Community Project, Cpl. Stout builds tiny homes for veterans. The organization helps homeless veterans transition to permanent housing and shows the difference heroes can make in the lives of others — even other heroes.
Thank You for Your Service
These are only a handful of the countless good deeds performed by heroes in 2018. While we can’t detail every heroic act performed in 2018, we feel it’s important to acknowledge them by thanking heroes for their service . Heroes serve our communities in extraordinary ways every day, and for that, we are forever grateful.
We also pause to honor our fallen heroes lost in 2018. Thank you for your service to your department, your team, and all of those you watched over. May those left behind be cared for by friends, family members and the community you served. RIP.
You Serve Others – That’s Why We Serve You
In 2018, we helped nearly 6,400 American heroes save a combined $11 million when they bought or sold a home with Homes for Heroes. And, the Homes for Heroes Foundation was able to provide over $108,000 in grants to local charities across the country to help heroes in need.
To find out how Homes for Heroes can help you save on a home, please sign up to speak with your local Homes for Heroes specialist. They are committed to helping heroes like you. There is no obligation. They will answer your questions and put you on the right path to saving on a home in 2019.