Everyday heroes: leadership stories for all of us

Everyday heroes: leadership stories for all of us

In the next two entries, I will present two more stories.  Those of you who have followed my courses and seminars, or those who have followed this blog for the past few months, I would encourage you to consider the leadership lessons of these stories (there are many!).  This should be an interesting exercise, as they reflect many of the concepts we have discussed.

You may even want to write down some of your thoughts about these stories and use them as comments for this blog.  Then, in a subsequent entry, I will review some of these lessons from my perspective.

Last time I wrote about the CNN documentary ‘Heroes of 2009’ and how the simple question “Are you hungry?” changed the life of Jorge Munoz, and of many homeless people in New York. It all happened because he made a decision and took a stand.

As I watched the CNN show, I was transfixed and inspired.  It was a rare experience for me, since I do not watch much television, and what I do see there is rarely inspirational.

Another of the heroes profiled was Jordan Thomas.  His story is here.

Jordan was 16 when he lost both of his legs below the knee in a boating accident. As he spent the next few weeks in the hospital undergoing multiple surgeries, he met many children who could not get the prosthetics they needed because their families could not afford them or because their insurance companies did not cover them.

The top-of-the-line prosthetics Thomas was fitted with cost about $24,000. He learned that many insurance plans cover only about $5,000.   He also discovered that many children were only granted one prosthetic, despite the fact that they would outgrow several of the artificial limbs before reaching adulthood.

Rather than dwell on his own fate, Jordan Thomas decided to do something for the others.  From his hospital bed, he started a foundation to provide life-changing prosthetics to children in need.  To date, the Jordan Thomas Foundation has raised more than $400,000.

Instead of grieving for his own loss, and rather than living his life as a victim, Jordan found his cause and his life’s work.  As he tells it: “My accident was a terrible accident but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world, because it’s given me a newfound perspective in my life, so I’m extremely thankful for that.”

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