Sometimes I look at the world around me and see all the suffering and pain, most of which we inflict on each other, and I wonder where all the good guys are. When I am sad and worried, I feel as though heroes are an endangered species. Sadly, it often takes a horrific event to open my eyes to the everyday champions that walk this planet, without fanfare or attention.
Last week, Norway experienced the worst act of terrorism it has ever known. Over 86 children and teenagers on an island camp were killed as a gunman, dressed as a police officer, shot them down. Hundreds of terrified young people tried to escape. Many of them ran to the water in an attempt to swim to safety on a distant shore.
Otto Loevik risked his own life to rescue 40-50 children in his boat. You and I would call him brave and courageous. And we would be right. Mr. Loevik quickly sprang into action. He didn’t stop to make a pros and cons list. He didn’t make excuses of how he couldn’t help, how he didn’t have the time or the experience to help others. Otto Loevik ran toward danger and possible death in order to help scared children trying to escape an evil man.
Mr. Loevik does not call himself as a hero though. He has denied all requests for an interview with the media. Like so many heroes, Otto Loevik does not think of all the lives he saved, he does not ponder on his bravery or courage. His wife says Otto only sees all those who were left behind in the water, because there was no room for them in his boat. He only thinks about how he failed to save everybody.
And that is what really makes him a true hero.