Usually at this time of the year, media publications throughout this country like to give out people or persons of year awards to people who they feel have had the greatest impact during the year. Some of the choices are rather puzzling. I read where one news magazine had Miley Cyrus as a finalist! Why?? What exactly has she done in the past year except to stir up more attention towards herself in an effort to sell her image? My take on these awards is very simple; I look for people who have done very inspiring acts and have gone above their call of duty in an effort to help out our society and fellow man. 2013 produced many people who were very worthy in my opinion. Besides the following that I am about to list, there are thousands of people in this world who go about doing wonderful and inspiring things without any big hoopla or attention. It could be that gentleman across the street who volunteers his own time and effort to help out troubled youth. Or it might be a teacher who inspired some young student to make something out of his or her life and go on to college. The list is endless and those people are truly deserving of getting this award. So let me mention some of the people who I think are most worthy.
1. Peyton Manning. A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about whether Manning would ever play again the the NFL. Here is a guy who was reaching his mid 30’s, already had a Super Bowl ring and suddenly he was faced with having multiple neck surgeries. Why would he play again? He could have ridden off into the sunset with a glorious career to fall back on. But Manning was determined to come back and give it another shot, not just to simply play again, but at a high level. Many of the experts thought he was crazy to come back and risk further injury. Well all Manning did was break the NFL record for the most touchdowns thrown in a single season. The level of his play after what he went through and his age is absolutely amazing!! He might be the most inspirational athlete of the last 20 years.
2. Ted Cruz. I know Cruz has a lot of critics out there and some are blaming him for the shutdown but you really have to admire a politician like Cruz who actually has some guts to stand up not only to another party, but his as well. Politicians like him are a rarity these days. He stood up and talked for 20 plus hours straight in an effort to defeat something that he thought was wrong for the people of this country. People from both parties mocked and laughed at him but Cruz was not about to back down. He stood on his principles and funny, everything he said was right. His long stand against Obamacare is to be greatly commended.
3. Zach Sobiech. A certain young man just east of here touched millions of people with his approach to having terminal cancer. Instead of giving up and feeling sorry for himself, Zach wrote a song about life called “Clouds” after his diagnosis. The song was a hit on Youtube and has inspired millions of people. The proceeds from the song has raised a lot of money towards cancer research. If you don’t know who this fine young man was, Google his name. I have to warn you, you will be really touched by his story.
4. Rhonda Crosswhite. Every year, this award would not be complete without a teacher’s name listed and this year, it a teacher in Oklahoma who saved several of her students during last May’s devasting tornado. Crosswhite put her young students lives ahead of her own as she laid on top on them and protected them during the tornado. A very brave and courageous act by a remarkable woman.
5. Natalie Stavas, Dan Marshall and Larry Hittinger. These 3 brave people were recently named as Bostonians of the year for their actions following the Boston Marathon bombings. Just normal human beings who risked their lives in order to serve other people. Instead of running away from the scene, they felt the need to help out the wounded. Their were many heroes on that day and those 3 are just a small sample.
And finally, my people of the year goes out to the brave, young Arizona firefighters who lost their lives last June during a devastating wildfire. The actions taken by those brave 19 men could have saved many lives and much property. I have learned to appreciate firefighters a lot more after hearing about this tragic story. May people always remember the bravery of those young men.