HERO AWARDS on July 4th

Here is an article that was published in The Tidings this week (www.the-tidings.com) about The Hero Awards. It’s true, it will be up against the Boston Pops on July 4th, but if you have TiVo, or a way to record one and watch the other, this show is excellent. The stories, vignettes, really speak to conversations about character.


Sr. Rose

‘Heroes’ honors ordinary who do the extraordinary

By Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP

A new awards show has been born in Hollywood. I was privileged to be present at the Universal Hilton June 13 for the taping of an inspiring evening honoring ordinary people who have done — and continue to do — extraordinary things.

On July 4, the 2008 Hero Awards — sponsored as a fundraiser for Feed the Children (www.feedthechildren.org) — will air in Los Angeles on Channel 13, 8-10 p.m. This new awards show, hosted by actor Dean Cain, star of “Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman” — features numerous stories, often in re-enactments and interviews. Among them:

—Corben Whitney, an off-duty CHP officer from Fresno, was recognized for pulling a family out of a burning car, especially the youngest child who was caught in the strap of his car seat. Facing intense heat, Whitney succeeded in saving the child who sustained second and third degree burns but is recovering.

—Dr. Sean Boutros is a Houston plastic surgeon who chose his field because, as he told me, “I first wanted to be a heart surgeon. But I discovered that heart surgery is quite repetitive. Plastic reconstructive cranial and facial surgery lets me apply principles over techniques to give children a new start in life.”

In one case Boutros worked with a Houston hospital to give Daniel, a four year-old Kenyan boy who had been attacked by a dog, a new face and ear. Dr. Boutros also travels nationally and internationally to offer his services free of charge and to train other doctors in this field.

—When Leana Beasley had a grand mal seizure in 2007, “Faith” Beasley, her Rottweiler service dog, pushed a special 911 button on the phone and barked into it. Faith then rolled Leana into a recovery position and waited near her owner until help arrived. When I asked Leana what she would like to tell readers of The Tidings, she replied that faith saved her life. “Even when you lose everything,” Leana said, “don’t give up faith because you can get everything back again.”

Other inspirational stories include a teen musical prodigy who uses music to encourage young cancer patients, and a train-loving fifth grader created a foundation funded by recyclables to take sick and underprivileged children and adults on the train ride of a lifetime. A parade of average people — kids helping kids, a man dedicated to healing and caring for endangered grizzly bears, doctors offering life-changing procedures to cancer patients, community activists and educators — are recognized for amazing acts of heroism, uncommon generosity and humble service.

These stories and more are linked by the reflections of such celebrities as Bryant Gumbel, Joan Lunden and Iron Man’s Faran Tahir. Musical performances — “The Rainbow Connection” by composer Paul Williams, songs by American Idol contestants Bo Bice and Ace Young, and the title song “Heroes” by the Greater Los Angeles Gospel Choir — round out the show.

Youth preparing for confirmation, as well as catechists, volunteers, teachers and anyone who enjoys true inspiring stories will want to tune in to this unique awards show. The 2008 Hero Awards is a meaningful way to commemorate the July 4 holiday.

(This show has a BK rating — “Bring Kleenex.”)

Daughter of St. Paul Sister Rose Pacatte is director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City.

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