After my grandpa’s death a couple of years ago, my parents had done much of the planning for their own funerals, but one of the few tasks that remained was writing my dad’s obituary, which prompted me to reflect on not only my dad’s legacy, but my own, as well.
As I've been following the around-the-clock news coverage of the riots in Baltimore over the last few days, simultaneously scrolling through my Facebook news feed and Twitter timeline, I have found one of the most frequently asked questions is:
How could they do that?
For Batman, it began in the dark alley where Dr. Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered. For Captain America, it consisted of the numerous rejections he received as he sought to serve his country. For Thor, it was the combination of being on the receiving end of an intergalactic timeout and his affinity for hardware of a different temper than those carried by your local Home Depot.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to be a part of a different kind of origin story, one born out from a truly amazing event, the Hero Round Table in Flint, Michigan.
The Ebola outbreak is a crisis that exists on a level above political and geographical boundaries. The rapid spread has forced organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) to wrangle with politicians and governing bodies. The process has been slow and fraught. "Someone has to stop this. It's not going to be the WHO. It's not going to be the government of these nations. ... They basically shook their heads, and sat on their fingers for months before they did anything, as has most of the West."
By necessity, other actors have stepped in to fill the void, and they've done so at great risk to their lives and livelihood. But what type of person puts herself in the middle of a humanitarian crisis?"
It's less about characteristics, and more about the inner power and spirit that lies within us, often dormant — and then something ... calls it forth," Koehn said. "I think what we see here — and those people who put themselves on the [Boston Marathon] finish line, those emergency workers who just pour into danger zones — is the spirit that gets unlocked, and is incredibly powerful, that makes an enormous difference ..., much more difference than any of these huge, big leaders that we put up on pedestals."