Reality Round-Up: To the Rescue Edition

Crime, murder, war, death, dismemberment, corruption, hate, discrimination, violence.

These are obviously examples of the evil to be found in the world around us. No matter how positive or upbeat a person is, watching newscasts and reading stories of darkness and depravity is enough to turn anyone’s half-full glass into a half-empty one.

And I am certainly no exception.

Fortunately, there are some stories that have the opposite effect and bring light into an otherwise darkening world. They may be few and far between, mind you, but they are out there.

As proof, I offer the following snippets from recent news stories that should serve to inspire rather than depress. They all focus on people who aren’t satisfied to simply live their lives at the expense of others. Instead, they see opportunities to help their fellow man and jump at the chance.

And believe me. We could all learn something from the examples they set.

Ryan Cornelissen, HERO (courtesy of R. Cornelissen)


In March, 21-year-old Ryan Cornelissen was driving to the bank when he was flagged down by another driver near the town of Garfield. He immediately pulled over to see what the problem was and discovered that the man’s wife had just given birth.

And the baby wasn’t breathing.

Since the couple didn’t speak much English, Cornelissen called 911 and the dispatcher walked him through the correct procedure for infant CPR. Moments later, the newborn gasped for air and started to breathe normally. He is now being kept in the hospital for a few weeks, but by all accounts should be fine.

Not bad for a community college student, huh? Even better is the career path Cornelissen is pursuing: law enforcement.

It seems to be that if anyone would make a great cop, it would be him!


This next story doesn’t involve a single individual, but a group of people who moved quickly to save someone from certain death.

It happened last week when a woman driving through a busy intersection started to have a seizure. Kristin Martin and Zachery Green were sitting in their cars when it happened and didn’t hesitate to react. They immediately jumped out of their vehicles and ran after her.

When they realized they wouldn’t be able to stop the out-of-control car, Martin and Green flagged down Don Grimshaw, a high school principal who was driving a huge Ford truck. With no concern for himself or his own vehicle, Grimshaw took action.

“I got in front of her and just tried to match up speeds and stop the car with the truck,” he said later. “The car kind of went back up on two wheels and went back down for a second. I thought it was going to go over the [guard] rail but fortunately it didn’t.”

The car eventually came to a stop as first responders arrived on the scene. And it looks as if the woman who had the seizure is going to be fine.

When asked why he chose to step in, Green put it best and answered simply, “It’s just the right thing to do.”

Amen to that, my brother. I only wish everyone felt the same way.


Officers Moss and Kramer (courtesy of WQOW)

Several weeks ago, Officer John Moss was on patrol when he received an emergency call from his dispatcher. Officials at a nearby high school reported that a 15-year-old student had left school and was headed for the Clark Street bridge, presumably to commit suicide.

When Moss arrived on the scene, he saw the young man climb over the rail and hang there, possibly trying to summon up the courage to jump. The officer tried to talk him down, but he just wasn’t going for it. Instead, he simply said “bye” and let go.

With reflexes like a jungle cat, Moss quickly grabbed the boy‘s arm and held him until backup arrived in the form of Officer Joe Kramer. He rushed over and helped Moss pull the boy over the rail to safety. And thanks to their quick thinking—and even quicker reaction time—it appears the disturbed young man will get the psychological help he needs.

The Stevens Point Police Department is planning to honor Moss and Kramer in a ceremony soon and many consider the men to be heroes. Only Moss isn’t one of them.

“Anyone in our department would do the same thing,” he said later. “We were just the ones that were there at the time.”

And thank goodness they were. Otherwise I would probably be writing about the teen’s suicide instead of his rescue. And there is no inspiration to be drawn from that.


Rescuing anyone from a perilous and potentially deadly situation is amazing enough, but saving a child—especially one with obvious challenges—borders on the spectacular, if it doesn’t blow right past it.

Such a situation occurred recently in New Jersey when a 9-year-old autistic boy wandered away from his home and was reported missing. Officers soon arrived on the scene and joined family members and neighbors as they searched the area.

Eventually, the trail led them to Mantua Creek, a muddy mess on the other side of the trees behind the boy’s home. And when they found the boy’s shoes on the shore, things got even more desperate.

“In front of the sneakers all we saw were maybe seven or eight footprints that led out to the waterway,” explained Officer Phil Owens, one of the first responders. “And at that point my heart sunk.”

The boy’s father immediately started to call his name and within minutes, they heard him screaming. Almost two hours had passed since he first wandered off, but at least now they knew the boy was alive.

How long that would be the case was another story. Owens scanned the creek and fortunately, he caught sight of the missing child.

“All we saw at one point was just a small head bobbing back and forth and screaming,” Owens recounted later. “He was up to his neck in mud.”

And the tide was rising quickly.

This young man is lucky to be alive (courtesy of ABC News Local)

Without hesitation, Owens and a colleague, Canine Officer Adam Ziegler, threw caution to the wind and jumped into the muddy water, uniforms, guns and all. Moments later some additional officers arrived and, working together, they were able to pull the autistic boy free.

It was a challenge to get him to shore—the officers started sinking into the same mud that trapped the boy—but they eventually made it. The boy was rushed to the hospital as a precaution, but was cleared and released a short time later. And the residents of this small township couldn’t be more grateful.

“I think it’s great to know that we have people around here that’ll do stuff like that,” neighbor Adam Pitz said of his local police force.

I couldn’t agree more, Adam. And it’s nice to hear something positive about law enforcement for a change. The media focuses far too much on the few bad apples that give all cops a bad name. The truth is that most of them choose the profession for one very clear reason: to help.

Just ask Officers Owens and Ziegler if you don’t believe me.

So there you have it: four examples of good people coming to the rescue of total strangers in need. It brings to mind a quote I heard more than a decade ago: “Don’t leave for tomorrow the love you can give today.” This may not seem to apply until you consider the one thing that connects all of the heroes mentioned here: love for their fellow man.

And if you don’t have love, what do you have?

Posted on March 27, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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