Feel Good Friday

I do a lot of soul searching doing what I can on a regular basis to improve myself, realign misguided thoughts and actions and be a better human.  In a world where “news” is editorial and fear based its nice to see some positive stuff once in a while.  I’m going to start showing off some of the good in the world. So here goes the first entry 🙂

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Doctor Walks 6 Miles Through Snow Storm To Perform Emergency Brain Surgery

On Tuesday morning, a brain surgeon in Birmingham, Ala., walked six miles through a severe snow storm to save a patient’s life.

Dr. Zenko Hrynkiw, Trinity Medical Center’s only neurosurgeon, had just finished surgery at a neighboring hospital when Steve Davis, the charge nurse at Trinity’s neuro intensive care unit, called him with an emergency, AL.com reported. Hrynkiw attempted to drive to the hospital, but roadblocks prevented him from getting far.

Davis told The Huffington Post that both local authorities and Trinity tried to provide transportation for Hrynkiw, but to no avail.

“I called him again and he said, ‘I’m not getting anywhere, I’m walking,'” Davis told HuffPost.

He estimates that it took Hrynkiw about five hours to get to Trinity. At around 12:30 p.m., the surgeon called again. “I’m walking in the door,” Hrynkiw said. “Where’s the patient?”

Davis told HuffPost that the patient had already been prepped for surgery. Hyrnkiw walked in, spoke to the patient’s family and “off to the OR we went,” according to Davis. As of Thursday morning, the patient was stable, he said.

“Without the surgery, the patient would have most likely died,” Davis told AL.com.

The charge nurse, who’s worked at Trinity for 10 years, told HuffPost he’s never seen anything like this — but Hyrnkiw’s actions didn’t surprise him.

“He’s on call about 330 days a year,” Davis said. “He’s dedicated. Right before we started the surgery, I told him, ‘You’re a good man.'”

Hyrnkiw’s response: “I’m just doing my job.”

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School gets credit for seeing kids’ positives

The florescent lights hummed in the Franklin Elementary School’s auditorium in Appleton as clusters of parents found seats on the fringes until the sounds of shuffled feet, children’s voices and teacher’s instructions filtered in the door and filled the room with excited sound.

I scanned the small faces that were finding their places, whispering to their neighbors, until I found the face that was seeking mine among the crowd. As our eyes met, my son tried to look casual, as if being honored by the staff in front of his friends and peers wasn’t a big deal, but after a moment, he couldn’t hide it and a wide smile broke free.

Just then, the principal, Dr. Carrie Willer, captured the crowd’s attention using a hand-clapped call-and-response with the students. My son turned his head forward and away from me, and the Fox Salute assembly began.

I had been surprised the night before by my second-grader’s request that I come to the small daytime assembly held each month on the designated late start day. More surprised still, as he dressed carefully that morning, wearing an air of reverence highly unusual for what was an otherwise typical Wednesday, I could tell that this day held importance to him.

I had come into the school that morning feeling like a proud mama — coffee in hand, ready to smile and nod, before politely glancing at my watch to make sure I would still make it to my work meeting. But as I stood to go, I was once more surprised to leave feeling like a proud community member.

I felt hopeful for Appleton’s future, not only because of the great students who surrounded me, but also because of the effort of the staff to honor and teach our children more wholly.

The children that day weren’t being honored for scholastic achievements or feats of sport aptitude, as is the public-school-aged norm, but for displaying to their teachers and peers characteristics of compassion.

Compassion — what a wonderful thing for teachers to recognize and to teach children to value. What traits the Fox Salute assembly honored vary — such as being responsible, respectful or a good friend — but what doesn’t vary is that the staff and students rally around one another to shine the focus on classmates who exemplify what it takes to make these children not just good students, but good people.

I watched the small stage fill with children who varied in age, sociological class and race. I watched, as they stood united, clutching their certificates, smiling their gap-toothed smiles, while pride bounced off every face as their peers whooped and whistled congratulations.

I put my camera down after taking a few quick mom shots and soaked in the possibilities of these children’s lives if they’re continued to be celebrated in our community for being more than a math score or reading level, a MAP test percentage or an attendance rating, and told by respected adults that their worth wasn’t decided by friends on the playground or by images found in the media.

If, in addition to learning basic phonics and skills, they’re taught early and in our schools to be looking for and encouraging in one another the positive attributes they all possess.

I hugged my son that afternoon after school and whispered in his ear how proud I was of not just him, but of all his school that day. He whispered back simply, “Me too.”

I asked him what it was that had felt so special and important about the assembly and his 7-year-old answer echoed my own: “Because I felt that my teacher really saw something in me, you know? Not just how good I do at stuff, but for who I am.”

A sincere thank you to the teachers, staff and students at Franklin Elementary and the Appleton Area School District for making an effort and space to celebrate children for more than just their genetic aptitude to classic learning, and for taking the time to really see them as individuals, teaching them through example what it means to be well-rounded people.

I believe the salute given should be yours.

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