Love thy neighbor


First Posted: 2/26/2009

There are times in life when the level of peoples courage, the depth of peoples character and the state of peoples morality come into question. In unexpected moments, fate thrusts us into unimaginable circumstances beckoning us to make a choicesave yourself or save someone else.
Its those rare moments when we witness someone elses bravery that makes us measure our own strength. What are we willing to do?
How about run into to a home engulfed with flames and smoke and save anothers life?
Thats exactly what three local teachers, a parent and maintenance personnel did a week ago today. Four people risked their lives to save the life of one.
First grade teachers Lisa Easter, Jill Holder, Carol Joyce, parent Paul Watson, and maintenance worker Dustin York banded in a effort to rescue wheelchair bound Juanita Hawks, 67, from her homeacross from the schoolthat caught on fire after a small trash fire on her porch.
Their heroic efforts were honored by the Mount Airy Fire Department, their students, peers and fellow faculty at B.H. Tharrington Elementary School yesterday.
As I talked to the ladies, and gentleman (York was absent), I was stunned by not only their heroism but their incredible humility. In conversation, they each similarly said we did what anyone would have done.
Perhaps they didnt expect to be brave, maybe it snuck up on them and it hit them before they even realized they were running toward a burning house.
It made me truly think, what would I have done? What would my neighbors do? I assume many of people would call 911 (which I highly recommend for children in such situations).
But how many of us would risk our lives for our own neighbor or a stranger? The brave actions of each of these local heroes makes me proud to know we still live in a world where neighbors still care about neighbors. It really brings to life the biblical scripture Love thy neighbor.
Im taking the bravery of Lisa, Jill, Carol, Paul and Dustin and incorporating that into my life.
I may not get the chance to rescue a neighbor from a burning house, but I know I will think twice when I see a neighbor in need of assistance.
Erin C. Perkins is a staff reporter for the Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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