Today marks the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center in New York City, Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and in a western Pennsylvania field. Amid tragic events, touching stories of strangers and everyday people helping others in times of need become society’s silver lining. In honor of Patriot Day, we’d like to feature four stories about heroes who were selfless and willing to help strangers in their time of need.
When the Make-A-Wish Foundation ask 3-year-old Kellan Tilton what his biggest wish was, the answer he gave surprised them a little. Instead of asking for a trip to an amusement park or to meet his favorite celebrity, Tilton asked for them to create a way for him to easily get from his main house to the barn on the property his family spends most of their free time.
Kellan was born with a cancerous tumor in his abdomen and spine. He is now cancer free, but the position of the tumor left him paralyzed from the waist down. He now uses a wheelchair to get around. The foundation gladly agreed to his request and is now in the process of building a bridge on the property.
People recovering from an illness in the hospital or at a home can feel lonely. One man’s passion is to cheer them up and support them through this time. Lindsey Boyd is a 92-year-old World War II veteran who founded Joyful Cheerdrops. It is a service he operates that delivers small gifts to people in nursing homes, hospitals and other families. “The gifts are reminders that somebody cares,” Boyd said. “So it helped me to satisfy that longing I had to make people something of value.”
After formerly being homeless for a period of time, a mother and son team up to give back to those in need. Ten-year-old Xavier Elliot is using his allowance to buy fabric for the clothes he creates on his mom’s sewing machine. After seeing his mother, Stephanie Elliott, sewing as a hobby, Xavier decided to make clothes for people in need. So far, he and his mother have teamed up to make clothes for infants, children and adults.
Jake Reissig makes a daily visit to his wife’s grave, but one day he noticed a woman crying nearby. This woman turned out to be Rachel Villasenor, and she was grieving over her son who was a fallen soldier. After Reissig saw who the grave belonged to, he started watering the plot every day. “It was the least I could do for him,” Reissig said. Villasenor was filled with gratitude and reverence because a stranger took that much time to care for a son who he didn’t even know.
Do you have a story of heroism? Share your story with us in the comment section! There are many kinds of heroes among us, and they all deserve to be celebrated.