The Heroes of 2017

The Heroes of 2017

Jocelyn Reeder, Feature Editor

If you watch or read the news on a regular basis, it can be quite depressing.  Natural disasters, deaths, terrorism and many other devastating events ripped across the headlines, but 2017 also had great acts of heroism amongst people. A man who chased and shot the Texas church shooter, Ariana Grande going back to perform at Manchester after a terrorist’s explosion at her concert, Lady Gaga and Joe Biden building Trauma Centers, and one of many every-day heroes, Rosie Mashale, who provided care for orphans.

The man who took down a Texas shooter:

Stephen Willeford, a 55-year-old plumber stood behind a pickup truck, firing shots that led to the demise of a gunman. Devin Kelley fatally shot 26 people and was exiting First Baptist Church when Willeford surprised him. “I was scared for my family, who lived a half a block away, ” Willeford said to 40/29 News TV. His first instinct was to run out of the house after his daughter told him someone was shooting up the church. He didn’t even put on shoes! The community gave him an emotional hug and praised Willeford as a hero.  Many others would have been killed if not for his quick-thinking and bravery.

Arianna Grande performing at Manchester:

On May 22, 2017, a suicide bomber attacked Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England. At least 22 people were killed and about 59 were taken to the hospital with injuries with many treated at the scene. Armed police arrested a 23-year-old man in Chorlton, South Manchester, in connection with the attack. After the attack, Ariana Grande spent time with the kids and fans who were hospitalized. She also went back to the UK for her concert to help raise funds for the victims and their families. Ariana tweeted, “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

Rosie Mashale:

Rosie Mashale ran a free daycare from her Cape Town, South Africa home for 10 years. She was ready to retire but she found an orphan on her doorstep and she realized she wanted to provide care for more than 5,000 orphaned, abandoned or sick children. Many of these children have lost their parents to AIDS. Her organization is called “Baphumele” which translates to “We have progressed.” Mashale stated, “Some of them tell me that they want to be social workers; they want to do the work I’m doing. Everybody has got a dream, and my wish is for their dream to be fulfilled.”

Lady Gaga and Joe Biden creating Trauma Centers:

Joe Biden revealed that he is working with Lady Gaga to create trauma centers for victims of physical and emotional abuse.  “Women who are abused end up having long-term physical and physiological problems. We are finally recognizing the long-term affects,” stated Joe Biden. They are currently in the early stages of planning the trauma centers. In October, Biden and Gaga worked together to promote the nonprofit organization It’s On Us. This provides education about identifying and preventing sexual assault on college campuses.