He actually ran toward the bullets. That’s what
the world is still marveling at since the tragic mass
shooting in Tucson, Ariz. Six were killed and 14 wounded,
including U.S. House Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. When the
shots rang out, one of her aides, Daniel Hernandez, ran
toward the spray of bullets and toward Giffords to
administer first aid. Experts are saying that act of
bravery might well have saved her life.
Hernandez has publicly said he doesn’t deserve
all the attention and accolades the media and public are
heaping upon him. But his actions undeniably make him a
hero. What strikes me, however, is how amazed we all are by
his act of heroism. If I had been there, would I have done
the same? Would you?
Regardless of the answer, the bigger point raised by
Hernandez’s actions is how uncommon it is in
today’s world to encounter such an unvarnished act
of selflessness. When a person runs toward potential
danger, and even death, to aid another, there can be no
“what’s in it for me”
negotiating that seems to permeate our society.
But it doesn’t take such a dramatic display of
self-sacrifice to find other examples of selflessness.
Indeed our Power 25 issue is full of examples of people who
are giving of themselves in this benevolent fashion.
They are, of course, the men and women who have taken on
the mighty task of crafting the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention’s Model Aquatic Health Code. I hope
you’ll take some time with this issue to get to
For those who don’t already know, the MAHC is
the first attempt to create a unified set of aquatic best
practices that’s based on science and data rather
than the “this is how we’ve always done
it” mentality that governs too much of
All hyperbole aside, it is an awesome task.
When completed, the code will cover every aspect of
operation, from water quality management to lifeguarding
and bather supervision. Volunteers chair every one of the
MAHC’s Technical Committees. What’s more,
those committees are made up of even more volunteers.
Working on MAHC has meant untold hours of phone
conversations, debate and research review. It was probably
more than many of the volunteers bargained for. But I also
know that even when the arguments flared and compromise
seemed impossible, even when the meetings seemed endless
and the work tedious, these volunteers kept at it for the
same reason so many of you come back day after day: They
Just like Hernandez, they’re not trying to be
heroes — most would reject any such label. No,
they’re just trying to do the right thing. To me,
that’s the very definition of a hero.