Blair Noles of Gastonia, North Carolina, lost his job with NASCAR two years ago and has had no luck finding work. But that doesn’t stop him from trying to help others. He and his girlfriend had just finished distributing toys to needy kids when he stopped to buy a gallon of milk. His change was a dollar. Figuring that wouldn’t buy much, he just got a lottery ticket.
A salute to a Huck’s Hero, convenience store clerk Jackie Patel of Waltham, Massachusetts. A would-be robber in a black ninja outfit burst in waving a three-foot machete. Patel grabbed the nearest weapon he could find, held it up like a sword and chased the robber away. And what was his weapon that trumped the machete? A feather duster. Oh, in the robber’s defense, Patel did chase him off with the handle end, not the feather end.
A very young Huck’s Hero, Vince Lamitie of North Ridgeville, Ohio. He was home alone with his dad last Sunday when his father fainted and fell down the basement stairs. Vince ran to the phone, dialed 911 and even unlocked the door for the paramedics. Pretty amazing, considering Vince is only three years old. Asked how he knew what to do, he replied, “Spongebob calls 911.” So maybe I should name Spongebob Squarepants as a Huck’s Hero, too.
Next month marks the 9th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. A lot of heroes died that day. But their bravery and sacrifice inspired countless more heroes across America. In the aftermath of 9/11, we were all New Yorkers. Americans from Florida to Alaska donated money, stood in long lines to give blood; many even put their own lives on hold and drove to New York to help with the search and rescue in any way they could.
The pipes are callin’ for a true Huck’s Hero, Bill Millin, who has died at the miraculously old age of 88. Millin was the Scottish bagpiper who stormed the beach at Normandy on D-Day with no weapons, only his bagpipes, playing Scottish anthems to remind his countrymen of home and inspire them to fight. He pressed inland with his unit and kept playing as they helped liberate France.
A Huck’s Hero salute to Bright Horizons preschool in Los Gatos, California. They’d had a “Hero Week” for the 4th of July, and the kids got a surprise visit from someone they’d been corresponding with since Veterans’ Day. It was Army Sergeant Mark Alvares, just home from Afghanistan to see his wife and two young daughters for the first time in 13 months.
A lifetime achievement salute to Huck’s Hero Don Ritchie of Sydney, Australia. He’s a former life insurance salesman who lives right across the street from a high cliff that’s Australia’s most notorious spot for suicides. Like a guardian angel, Don watches the cliff from his chair.
Best wishes for a safe trip to a Huck’s Hero from Northern Ireland. Businessman Norman Surplus took off Monday in hopes of becoming the first man to travel 27,000 miles around the world in a gyrocopter. It’s a tiny, rotor-powered aircraft with an open cockpit. He hopes to cover 300 miles a day and visit 26 countries to raise money for cancer research. Why this trip for that cause? Because he was taking chemotherapy for bowel cancer when he saw a TV show about a man restoring an old gyrocopter. He said he’d never have done anything this crazy before he had cancer. But now, he thought, “That would be quite a change of scene.” So good luck, Norman, and may the wind be beneath your rotors.
A salute today to a young Huck’s Hero, 17-year-old Todd McHugh of Citrus Heights, California. He was driving his pickup to meet friends Monday when a car in front of him veered off the road, hit a ditch and slammed to a stop on some railroad tracks. Todd rushed over and found the driver dazed.
A salute to a quiet Huck’s Heroine who set an example for us all. Harriet Richardson Ames of Concord, New Hampshire, spent her lifetime teaching young children and taking college courses when she could. It was always her dream to earn a bachelor’s degree in education, but with her eyesight failing, she didn’t think she’d ever make it.
80-year-old Elsie Clark was returning to Winnipeg after visiting her daughter in Texas. She has hip trouble, and the airline gave her a wheelchair ride to the wrong gate at DFW Airport. From there, her trip spiraled into a nightmare of missed flights, skipped meals and long delays. Click to find out how Dean Germeyer came to her rescue.
A salute to a Huck’s Hero: Retired Col. Van Barfoot of Henrico County, Virginia. His homeowner’s association rejected his request to fly the stars and stripes in his front yard. They said a flagpole is aesthetically displeasing. Well, he put one up anyway, and they ordered him to remove it by last Friday or face legal action.
When a man who ran a local puppy mill died, his widow got overwhelmed and ended up with 150 dogs in filthy cages. Cara and Alan Baxter volunteered to save them. They scrubbed cages, fed dogs and went to work around the clock, finding every dog a good home at no charge. At last check, there were only 11 dogs still needing homes, and Cara said her phone was ringing off the hook.
A salute today to a Huck’s Heroine who’s actually found a way to make people feel good about airline travel again. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that when Delta flight attendant Robin Schmidt finishes her standard safety spiel, she takes out a journal and passes it around the plane, asking each passenger to write a personal message to a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Three years ago in Exeter, England, a young woman was raped and brutally beaten. She was in a coma for weeks, and is still in a wheelchair. A suspect had been caught earlier that night on a security camera, talking to two women. 22-year-old Lloyd Gardner recognized the women and called Crimestoppers. The women identified the suspect, who was extradited from Poland and just got a double life sentence.
My deepest condolences today to the family and students of a real Huck’s Hero, Todd Henry of Tyler, Texas. Todd was a special ed teacher who would bring his guitar to class and use his love of music to reach students with emotional and behavioral problems at John Tyler High School. Sometimes, a student might turn aggressive, but Todd had worked with prison inmates for 10 years and wasn’t afraid.
At the 1984 Republican Convention in Dallas, a protester was arrested for violating the Texas law against burning the American flag. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that flag-burning was a form of free speech, I guess because it was as close as that protester could come to expressing his opinions intelligently. But there is an entire other story behind this story.
We all remember the heroes of Flight 93, who gave their own lives to prevent terrorist hijackers from crashing their plane into the White House. Well, some of their relatives have organized a cross-country motorcycle ride to honor them. They said, “Let’s roll” and left Newark Airport yesterday morning at 8:42 a.m. – the same time Flight 93 took off. They plan to arrive in San Francisco on the 8th anniversary of the attacks. They’re doing it to raise money for a Flight 93 memorial. So if you happen to see them, I hope you’ll pull over to make way, throw them a salute, and maybe write a little check for a very good cause.
A salute to Joey Lepore of North Bergen, New Jersey, who reminds us once again that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance … or at least staying awake. Joey was riding his bike past the George Washington Bridge when he noticed the guard asleep. Joey woke him up and made him promise to stay awake. But he caught him sleeping twice more. So he took some photos.
A big pat on the back today to a young Huck’s Hero: 11-year-old Adonis Bell of South Chicago. It was around 3:30 a.m. when Adonis woke up smelling smoke. He went to the kitchen and saw the ceiling above the stove was on fire. Adonis kept calm, woke his mother, grabbed his two-year-old cousin and carried her over his shoulder like a firefighter and outside to safety.
Younger readers might think Les Paul wasn't a real person, but the name of the world's most famous rock guitar. But the reason it bears his name is because, well: he invented it. Along with multitrack recording and just about everything today's rock, country and jazz musicians take for granted. But he wasn't just a studio genius. He was also one of the greatest musicians ever, and he left behind a treasure trove of recordings that will be marveled over for centuries.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to be a Huck’s Hero. All Paul McCarthy of Pittsburgh had to do was pick up some trash, but he’s fighting City Hall to do it. McCarthy got fed up with all the litter and brush in his neighborhood. So when calls to the city got no response, he started cleaning it up himself, even though he’s 62 and battling cancer. He says everyone who walked by thanked him—except city sanitation officials.
We hear a lot these days about heartless insurance companies, so it’s nice to be able to include one among today’s Huck’s Heroes. In Carseland, Canada, Bonnie Carpenter was out driving with her husband, Gordon Gamble, when they saw a man trying to drag a screaming woman toward his car. Bonnie stopped, and the woman broke loose, ran over and dived into their Jeep. Bonnie peeled out, but the would-be kidnapper started chasing them.
A giant-sized Huck’s Heroes salute to three of the greatest names in American history: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Forty years ago this week, the Apollo 11 landing module, the Eagle, touched down on the moon. Armstrong took the first step off the ladder, the famous “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin joined him on the surface as virtually everyone in the world stopped and marveled, hushed, at the ghostly TV images of the first humans ever to stand upon ground that was not of this Earth.
A team of eight cyclists completed a coast-to-coast bike ride in a record time last week. While this would be an impressive feat on its own, the accomplishment is even more astounding considering all eight riders have Type 1 diabetes. The team, appropriately called Team Type 1, traveled a distance of 3,021 miles in five days, nine hours and five minutes. Click below for more of the Type 1 story.
Dr. Rob Carson of Australia didn't allow his lack of medical proper equipment keep him from saving a young boy's life. Twelve-year-old Nicholas Rossi was suffering from internal bleeding in his skull--the same condition that recently killed actress Natasha Richardson--after falling off of his bike. Dr. Carson needed to relieve the pressure, but didn't have access to a neurological drill. Click to find out how Dr. Carson saved the boy's life.
This week's Huck’s Hero is Martrell Stevens of Chicago. Martrell graduated from kindergarten last week. Normally, that’s not such a big accomplishment, but Martell isn't a normal five-year old. Just one year ago, two Chicago gangs started firing guns at each other on the street. Martrell was asleep in his mom’s car, when a stray bullet shattered the window. Click below to find out how this amazing story ends.
Todd Sweeney, a former diver with the British Royal Navy, was in Cyprus looking out his hotel window when he saw the body of a teenage girl at the bottom of the swimming pool. Sweeney rushed to the pool, dove in, pulled her out and saved her life with his Navy CPR training. And you'll never guess what he was wearing ...
Heroes come in all ages. 12-year-old Garrek Lott proved this when he saved his toddler sister Anna from a house fire. When his room started to fill with more, Garrek, a Boy Scout from Orem, Utah, calmly walked to his sister’s bedroom, lifted her from her crib, walked outside, shut off the circuit breaker and called 911. “I wasn't really scared," Garrek told the Deseret News. "Just kind of sad because I didn't want the house to burn. I was thinking about getting (Anna) out of the house and getting everyone else out." ...
When Blake Hunter saw a van roll over and land upside down near the bottom of a bridge, he knew what he had to do. The Longview, Texas man got out of his car, ran to the van and began helping the six injured passengers, including four special-needs patients from a local residential care facility.
Tustin Mains of North Platte, Nebraska, is only six years old. He was riding with his 3-year-old brother in the back seat of the family pickup when he dad suddenly passed out at the wheel from low blood sugar. His foot slipped off the gas pedal, but the truck was still moving forward at about 15 mph. Well, Tustin says he saw his dad “fall asleep,” so he jumped into the front seat, climbed into his dad’s lap and took the wheel.