As a 5’10, 150 pound, 19 year old whose hips are as about as messed up as they can get outside of giving birth due to sports injuries, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything deemed “heroic.” That was until Thursday night, when we were driving down the highway after finishing a house dedication for a family. As we were driving down, we saw two kittens laying in the middle of the highway, only realizing those were kittens when we had just narrowly missed them. I felt something inside my head click and decided that I was going to get out of the car to go rescue those kittens. Thankfully our driver had the same idea and pulled over, as I had already decided I was going to jump out of the car to rescue them, moving at 60 miles an hour or not. As we pulled over and had just barely stopped, I jumped out of the car and started running back towards the part of the highway we saw them at, the driver running after me, afraid that I was going to get turned into roadkill myself. Thankfully there were no cars on the road when I ran out to grab one of the kittens and bring it to safety, although I was fully prepared to stop a car to save it, which in hindsight was probably a terrible idea. I ended up spending the next 2 hours with it back at our camp to make sure it was comfortable and went to the store later that night to make it some food to eat.
I’ve grown up with cats my whole life and just 3 months ago I had to put down my cat that I’ve had for 12 years because of how sick she was. I didn’t consider myself a “hero” or anything special. To me, it was just the right thing to do, but after being told by multiple people that what I did was “heroic” or “brave” or as my mom put it “You went out onto a highway?!? That’s so amazing you went that far to save a cat but that’s so dangerous!”
This got me to start thinking more about our work down here in Marianna. People were always shocked when we told them we came down here to help rebuild their community. That people from far away as Indiana would come all the way down to Florida to help them out. I don’t know how other people felt on the trip, but to me, I was confused as to why they were shocked. These people are in need, and as a Christian, the right thing to do is to help those out in need. Maybe it’s the black and white view of the world that comes with being Autistic, or the fears of building an ego, but only now am I just realizing the impact that our group and MDS has had on the town of Marianna. We are giving people a brand new, better than building code, home for free. We are impacting their lives in ways that are unimaginable.
Being a hero isn’t just running into a burning building and saving 8 kids, or taking down an armed assailant, being a hero can be as simple as doing the right thing to do.
Written by: Levi Graber