Heroes walk among us

Professional athletes are idolized by millions.
That makes them idols, not necessarily good role models or heroes.

Professional athletes are idolized by millions.That makes them idols, not necessarily good role models or heroes. A hockey player who scores 50 goals can still be arrogant, inconsiderate and selfish without being truly heroic.Perhaps a better definition of heroism should include courage, determination and selflessness, even self-sacrifice.By those standards, search and rescue personnel easily qualify as heroes.Exhibit A — 442 Squadron, based at CFB Comox.For the second time in three years, a 442 crew has won the Cormorant Trophy for Helicopter Rescue.Presented annually by the company that manufactures the Cormorant that is so important to 442’s missions, the latest award went to a five-man crew for a rescue that pushed the quintet and its copter to their limits.On the night of Dec. 23, 2010, they risked their lives to pluck a stranded hiker in frightful conditions high on a mountain in Cypress Provincial Park.With a nasty winter storm bearing down, the crew braved dense cloud and 85 km/h gusts that threatened to dash the Cormorant onto a cliffside at any moment.Ignoring constant alarms that warned they were exceeding the normal tolerance for the copter’s three engines, they dangled a search and rescue technician, who managed to extricate the hiker.Only the well-built helicopter, skill and training of the crew and possibly a miracle saved them all from being dashed into the mountain.We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — people who risk their lives to save others are true heroes who deserve our gratitude and respect.Search and rescue volunteers deserve no less.Hats off, for example, to Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue members who were part of a team that twice walked the length of the highway between Campbell River and Port Hardy looking for a missing 81-year-old Port Hardy man.Their selflessness and determination are two key elements in our definition of hero.editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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