What a hero is.

How do we judge heroes in our lives? What high standards do we demand? I recently had the immense pleasure of meeting such a person and this is her story.

Christa Rutherford is an unassuming woman of substance. Barely 5 ft in hieght and stepping on the scale at 95 lbs, she is a bright and attractive twenty something.

Her couragous story begins two years ago after the great tsunami hit Indonesia and other countries surrounding the Indian Ocean. More than 150,000 people were killed in this disaster and property damage goes into the billions. We all wept and we all felt sorry for the victims but who among us would go to their aid?

Rutherford made a decision to do just that. She did a little research and found a city in Sri Lanka that was heavily damaged and had lost 48,000 of it’s citizens. Sight unseen, she got on a plane and flew a long 22 hrs to Columbo, the capital. Arriving very tired, she came to find out that the city, named Galle, was some six more hours away by cab. In this third world country, she got in the cab with a man she never met and didn’t speak English and made the trip. Scared and insecure, she prayed all the way to Galle that He would keep her from harms way.

Upon arriving, she got involved with aid organizations but found the process to be lengthy and slow going. She met and made friends with another American woman, named Erin, from California. They hit it off and, together, came up with an idea. They decided to call on friends back in the States. These two ladies raised $10.000. Depositing the cash in a bank, they went to work.

Calling on the men who owned a row of houses in a village that had been destroyed, they bought the tools and supplies and hired them to rebuild their homes. For three months they toiled and worked every day. In the end they restored a total of 22 residences to their original or better than condition. I can’t imagine the sacrifices they made and I know, myself, I could never step up to that plate if I tried. What a great humanitarian effort!

Christa is planning on visiting her friends in Sri Lanka again soon and she calls them frequently to check on their welfare. She lives in Farmington Hills and hangs in the D whenever she can. Her pals tell her all the time that her life is a best seller. After knowing her and hearing her story, there is no doubt I would buy that book. In my eyes she and her good friend Erin are heroes. Supremely noble and self-sacrificing, they reflect the very best the human race has to offer.

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