This year has been hard on everyone. But when things get tough, the bravery and indomitable spirit of our heroes shine through even brighter. As we end the year, we look back at the accomplishments of our heroes in 2020.
Healthcare Professionals Confront COVID-19
COVID-19 was unquestionably the biggest story of 2020, making healthcare professionals arguably the biggest heroes in 2020 for their tireless efforts fighting the virus. Doctors, nurses and other frontline workers were tasked with treating people in overpacked hospitals despite a lack of protective equipment. Still, they worked long, difficult hours, doing everything they could to help patients battling the virus. Their professionalism and commitment to others was on full display as they went above and beyond to care for those in need and keep their spirits high. In what provided some of our favorite hero moments of the year, it was amazing to see people clapping and cheering in the streets to celebrate these true heroes.
Law Enforcement Officers Overcome Adversity
2020 saw increased calls to restructure or even defund law enforcement organizations. Our brave officers, however, continued to keep our streets safe to protect and serve those in need. There was the police officer in New Jersey who saved a man trapped in a burning car. Or the officers in Ohio who rescued a woman as her car filled with water after she had driven into an icy river. There were the officers in New Jersey who saved a colleague’s life when she started choking on some food, showing that no matter the situation, law enforcement officers are ready to step in at a moment’s notice to help others.
Firefighters and EMS Make Bravery Seem Ordinary
It says a lot about firefighters and EMS personnel that stories about them fighting multiple wildfires to save homes and pulling a mother and her children from a burning building seem almost commonplace. But that’s just what we’ve come to expect from these extraordinarily brave individuals. Even off-duty, firefighters showed off their heroism this year, sometimes to a tragic end.
In August, Detroit firefighter Sgt. Sivad Johnson was visiting a local beach with his daughter when he noticed three girls struggling to stay above water. Without hesitation, Sgt. Johnson raced to save the drowning girls. Although he was successful in saving the girls with the help of some other bystanders, Sgt. Johnson himself never made it out of the water, sacrificing his life to save others.
Teachers Go to Great Lengths to Help Students
Teachers also had to significantly change the way they worked this year. As many school districts switched to all distance learning or hybrid models, teachers had to adjust to find new ways to connect and engage with their students and deliver the materials they need to succeed. But they also went all out to provide the same level of emotional and personal support that so many students need from in-person learning. One music teacher in Minnesota even rewrote the lyrics to a song from Moana to let kids know teachers have their back, even from a distance. For parents and students alike, teachers became life-changing heroes in 2020. Going virtual allowed parents to work and students to continue their education at home.
Military Members Serve with Honor
U.S. military personnel continue to show why they are the most exceptional fighting force in the world this year. Whether it was U.S. special forces rescuing kidnapped Americans in Nigeria or marines back home who helped save a woman trapped under a car, our men and women in uniform served honorably in defense of our country and its citizens. Even our four-legged military members showed their courage this year. One such pup, a working military dog named Jessy, was honored for her service that included two overseas deployments and 38 presidential missions at a retirement ceremony in November.
Homes for Heroes in 2020
Homes for Heroes also had some great moments of 2020, fulfilling our mission of supporting the individuals serving our communities.
This year (through November), we helped over 8,300 heroes and their families save money when buying or selling a home. The savings to heroes was over $16.4 million.
The Homes for Heroes Foundation donated $140,000 in grants (through November) to organizations that support heroes in our communities.
We are proud of the work we did to serve heroes in 2020. We look forward to the opportunity in 2021 to continue honoring all those who do so much for our communities.
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