To inspire hope and courage, I dedicate Monday posts through the months of March and April to authors and professionals on the subject of heroes, historically defined, and also the transformation in today’s society. I like to think of this term as the Everyday Hero. Here today, I have fellow author Olga Godim, answering three questions on the hero topic. Her answers inspire me.
[Erika] What is your definition of hero (historically or in today’s world)?
[Olga Godim] Heroes come in two varieties: public and private. A public hero is the one people know about. He performed an act of courage in the service of others. The first responders on site on 9/11 – firefighters and the police – trying to save as many lives as they could, come to mind, or a soldier risking his life to get a comrade out of a danger zone. They are the people songs and novels are written about. They are the ones everyone interviews. But what happens afterwards, when the heroics are over, the songs forgotten, and life goes on? Sometimes it leaves those heroes behind because of their injuries or their non-conformity. Of course, they are remembered on anniversary dates, but on all the other days of the year, they are just neighbors, family, regular guys and gals. Sometimes they are even not very nice, because heroic deeds require certain personality traits that are seldom in demand in peaceful life.
The private heroes are trickier. A woman afflicted with a deadly disease but still trying to live her life with dignity and kindness is a hero nobody knows about. No songs, no interviews, but her website and blog are uplifting and have many followers. She is always generous with praise and support of others and she seldom complains. Nobody outside her family knows how much every step, every typed post cost her. I bow to this kind of heroism with deepest admiration, much more so than to the public type. It takes so much courage not to become bitter, not to succumb to the ravages of pain, to go on despite those trials day after day, with no hope of ever getting better and no public recognition. This is heroism of the highest order. And before you ask, yes, I have a specific person in mind, one of my online friends, but I won’t embarrass her by pointing a finger.
[Erika] How does your hero fit the definition?
[Olga Godim] The protagonist of my anthology story, Captain Bulat, doesn’t fit any definition of a hero. She isn’t one. She is a regular person, doing a job she was hired to do, mainly to get paid, like all of us. She is a Finder in a fantasy world, and someone hired her to find a lost hero, Captain Bulat. He was a valiant war hero whose heroic deeds warranted a statue, but he disappeared 25 years ago, before she was born, just after the war ended. Now, my heroine is searching for him, and she needs courage and compassion to deal with a heap of problems arising during her search. It seems not everybody wants the lost Captain Bulat to be found.
[Erika] Why did he or she fall? Did they find their way back?
[Olga Godim] When I decided to write a story for this anthology, I took its theme literally. For me, lost and fallen are not synonymous. My hero is lost, not fallen: nobody knows where he is. Searching for him is the gist of my story.
Anthology Story: “Captain Bulat”
When one of the most powerful men in the city hires the young Finder Altenay to find Captain Bulat, a hero of the last war, she is stumped. The war ended and the hero disappeared 25 years ago, before she was born. How can she find the lost hero now, after all these years, when her Finder’s magic keeps floundering? How can she stay alive, when some unknown persons don’t want her to succeed?
About Olga Godim
Olga is a writer and journalist from Vancouver, Canada. Both her children, a son and a daughter, have already flown the nest. To sustain her nurturing instincts, she now collects toy monkeys. She has over 300 monkey figurines in her collection. As a journalist, Olga writes personal profiles of the local artists, actors, and musicians. As a fiction writer, she prefers fantasy. In the past few years, her fantasy and magic realism short stories have been published in multiple internet and print magazines. Her book SQUIRREL OF MAGIC is a collection of urban fantasy short stories. Her novels EAGLE EN GARDE and ALMOST ADEPT are parts of her ongoing sword-and-sorcery fantasy series. In 2015, EAGLE EN GARDE won EPIC eBook Award in the Fantasy category.
How to Find Olga Godim?
Questions: Ever searched for something frantically and never found it until the moment passed, you no longer needed it and it appeared? Who’s your private hero?
Thank you for stopping in today. My Everyday Hero interview didn’t pan out this week as my attempts to contact this individual didn’t get through in time. Hopefully, my interview idea for next week comes through. And Olga, I loved your post and your definitions on Hero.
To inspire hope and courage, I dedicate Monday posts through the months of March and April to authors and professionals on the subject of heroes, historically defined, and also the transformation in today’s society. I like to think of this term as the Everyday Hero. Here today, I have fellow author, Tyrean Martinson, answering three questions on the hero topic. I’ll also end this post with my Everyday Hero of the week, Dana, Executive Director of Restore the Light, a Nonprofit Human Trafficking Awareness Organization.
Tyrean’s Story, “Of Words and Swords”
In a time of dragons and dragon-slayers, Maud has lost his taste for battle. He wants only to put his swords to rest and follow his life-long dream to become a bard.
Mini Interview with Tyrean Martinson
[Erika] What is your definition of ‘hero’ (historically or in today’s world)?
[Tyrean] I think a hero endures hardship and risks his/her life (physical, social, or career) to save or help others or to save the world/community. I think this is true in historical and modern contexts.
Harriet Tubman is an example from American history. An American slave who escaped slavery, she returned to the South to help many slaves escape. She dedicated her life to helping others.
In modern times, we have heroes like Reverend Marin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Teresa, along with all the first responders on 9/11 and many others who give their lives and their time to others.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Mr. Rogers
[Erika] How does your hero fit the definition and then finally, why did he or she fall?
[Tyrean] Maud gave up his dream of becoming a bard to become a dragon-slayer. After risking his life many times to save his kingdom from dragons, he’s given a large reward which enables him to pursue his old dream. He thinks that dragons will leave his kingdom alone – after all, he has killed dozens already and no one has seen one in a few years.
Maud falls because he’s tired of killing dragons and he is a bit selfish.
(I know that the current trend for dragons is that they are intelligent, talkative, and noble. Maud has never met a dragon like that.)
About Tyrean Martinson
Daydreamer, writer, teacher, believer – Tyrean Martinson lives near the Puget Sound with her husband and daughters. With her B.A. in Ed. and English, she teaches writing classes to home-school teens and she writes speculative, contemporary, poetry, experimental hint fiction, and writing books.
My Everyday Hero This Week: Dana, Executive Director of Restore the Light, a Nonprofit Human Trafficking Awareness Organization
According the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Human trafficking is defined as:
“Modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States … Human trafficking is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.”
Fact: 100,000 kids are sold into sex trafficking every year.
Fact: Currently 1.5 million victims in the U.S.
Fact: Human trafficking is a 32 billion dollar industry, and it’s growing in all 50 states.
Fact: According to Polaris Human Trafficking statics, states in the U.S. closest to water access, major highways and international airports, are number one trafficked locations.
Executive Director Dana, with the Nonprofit Organization, Restore the Light, had her eyes opened wide while sitting in church. Starting the organization from the ground up, Restore the Light aims to educate and be a proactive force for victims of human trafficking. Dana is not just an executive director and founder of this organization, but an assistant principal, a mother, and a wife, an active religious leader and above all things, a believer in standing up for what’s right when the world feels incredibly wrong. Dana is an everyday hero for her heart and her strength. She’s not afraid to say what many people think and are afraid to voice. Dana is a voice. Dana is a lighthouse in the dark.
[Erika] Tell me about the mission of Restore the Light.
[Dana] We aim to educate people about domestic human trafficking, sex trafficking and to increase awareness and allow for intervention of future victims of all ages and all backgrounds. Did you know the average age of entry is 11?
[Erika] No. I had no idea. I can’t even fathom that.
[Erika] Where did your inspiration come from to start this group?
[Dana] Honestly by nature, I have been a protector for the vulnerable. One day, sitting in church, I heard someone talking about people being trafficked from a truck stop 10 minutes from my location. I thought I work with young people. How did I not know that? How can I protect my students, if I don’t know these things? And then I wondered, who else doesn’t know this information? It started as a protection for my students, and now I push to spread the focus to all kids of that age.
[Erika] Where are you now in comparison to where you began?
[Dana] The organization began by word of mouth just talking to people about the definition of human trafficking. Now we have social media, a website and we go to organizations and colleges all over the state. We partner with local police departments to be a lead program. We educate in counselor development programs, coordinate and host defense classes. This year we plan to host a 5k and will continue to reach out to more universities and organizations.
[Erika] How many people do you touch?
[Dana] We touch nearly 250 in most conferences we present at. Recently we were asked to speak at a local chamber ground of 12 individuals. We mostly do presentations and self-defense classes to provide resources. We are about education, prevention, and intervention. The facts state, only 1 – 2 % who traffic actually get rescued. The best way to impact the community is to prevent it from ever happening. Human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal industry in the United States behind drugs.
[Erika] What’s your biggest moment of making a difference?
[Dana] Honestly, a child came to me and said, “Hey, I heard you know a lot about trafficking, and I am worried about my friend being groomed for sextortion.” She’d believed it was a friend of a friend, but the friend had actually never met that person. So none of the connections were legit. I am glad I talk about human trafficking, so kids know the details. My big push is to teach people how it happens here in Kansas City. It happens world-wide every 30 seconds.
[Erika] Do you have an everyday hero?
[Dana] My mom. She had me as a teen and was basically homeless once she got pregnant with me. We moved a lot. I had 12 homes before I was 10. Still, my mom went to college and worked to get her degree, but she made sure I was taken care of. Now she has her doctorate, teaching in an OT program. She overcame all her struggles and because of her struggle, making excuses has never been an option for me.
[Erika] What struggles does the organization face?
[Dana] Honestly, time. People don’t like to talk about what’s uncomfortable. To hear our message, they have to be okay getting out of their comfort zone and to take off the rose colored glasses to see the ugly. It’s always ugly with kids. The big thing is, you can’t fight what you don’t know exists.
[Erika] What resources can we share with the public? Is there a safe place?
Want to know more about Restore the Light?
*RESTORE THE LIGHT IS NOT AN EMERGENCY RESOURCE*
If you are in IMMEDIATE need of assistance or in danger call 911.
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
United States: 1 (888) 373-7888
SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish
Thank you, Tyrean Martinson for being here with me today. I can’t wait to read your story. And Dana, you inspire me to be a better and bigger person.