Lawrence School Quartet Teaches Us All
With extraordinary things happening all around us, especially in this historic week of firsts, it can be easy to gloss over truly meaningful local moments in our lives. It is more important now than ever, however, to recognize the exceptional deeds of every day Falmouthites to remind us of the local heroes in our midst - and the hope they bring to us here at home.
"We just did what anyone else would have done," was the humble retort from Lawrence School Social Studies Teacher Adam Thomas, in response to being called a hero as he and fellow Falmouth educators Tom Kelliher, John Long, and Jeff Tribou saved a man from near certain death, pulling him from his burning vehicle along MacArthur Boulevard last week. The four were on their way to, appropriately enough, the JFK Library for an in-service day, as their turn at demonstrating profiles in courage came.
These days, we are so primed and pre-disposed to hero worship by the 24 news cycle which starves for another headline that we are willing to plant the moniker of hero on people who simply do the right thing, like returning a found wallet, or offering aid to a senior citizen crossing the street. These deeds, while admirable, are simply what is expected of us as humans, Americans, and citizens of Falmouth. What this quartet of local men, who teach our young people every day about the heroes of America's past, did on that day was indeed heroic. They put themselves in danger out of respect for the value of the life inside that vehicle.
As the story goes, they were driving north toward the library of our 35th President, when they spotted the ailing vehicle on Route 28. Without hesitation, they stopped and approached the car and its semi-conscious driver. Unable to open the door to the now smoldering vehicle, Tom Kelliher kicked in the window and Falmouth's fantastic four helped the driver to safety.
"We can't all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by," said Will Rogers. How many carfulls drove by on that morning with their occupants too busy with the iPod, too wrapped up in the sports scores, or too consumed with the thoughts of the day to stop and save a life? There were no curb-sitters in Tom Kelliher's car that day. These men, who already have dedicated their lives to making good kids into better citizens, have now shared the most important of lessons for all of us. For some of us, the burning vehicle may just be a found wallet or an older Falmouthite needing help across the street - and our call may not make us heroic, but simply give us an opportunity to do our part in making our place on the planet better - but the lesson is there. Watch for those burning vehicles in your life - and be prepared to act and not sit on the curb when the time comes.
I don't believe in coincidences. Those men, equipped with compassion and a heroic instinct, were in that vehicle, drove by at that time, and saved that life to send us a message of hope and remind us that extraordinary men and women walk among us, globally, nationally, and locally.
So this week, as we live our days filled with a renewed sense of hope for a better tomorrow, as we together embark on the wondrous journey of promise with its epicenter in Washington, these four local heroes remind us that hope lives locally - by and through good deeds and good people. Thank you, Adam, Tom, John and Jeff, for showing us both.