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 know them.
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 aquatics.
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 love aquatics.
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.