Written: June 2008

 

I read a newspaper article today that really drove home the meaning of the word “Giant.” It was about a former New York Giant who decided to walk across the country to honor and raise money for 9/11 rescue workers who are battling various illnesses as a result of their heroic efforts at Ground Zero. (more info: http://www.ajourneyfor911.com )

The article says George Martin walked 3,003 miles, from New York City to San Diego. He went through 24 pairs of shoes and lost 40 pounds. Oh, and he also raised $2 million dollars along the way.

In an era that has given us pro athletes who rack up felony arrest after felony arrest, for everything from robbery, to attempted murder, to dog fighting, George sticks out like a sore thumb. He didn’t have to do this. He could have rested on the laurels of his illustrious football career. He played for 14 years and was co-captain of the amazing 1987 New York Giants team that won the Super Bowl.
I read that during parts of George’s cross-country trek, the winds were so bad that he had to walk backwards. He endured rainstorms, ice showers and brutal heat. He went through 80 pairs of socks. His walk took nine months, five months longer than he had planned, and ended in San Diego, instead of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

But did he complain? NO.

George said he needed to do something to bring attention to the plight of so many 9/11 workers who are dealing with respiratory problems and other illnesses. Their insurance doesn’t cover the treatments they need. Some are dying before they can receive treatment. In George Martin’s eyes, these men and women who spent weeks and months digging through the dusty ruins of the World Trade Center and surrounding buildings, looking for remains, in an attempt to bring closure to so many families, are the true heroes.

I agree. These unsung heroes need help to care for themselves. They need to not be forgotten by the system and by the country.

But, I need to add one more hero to this list. He doesn’t want accolades or adulation, but in my eyes, George Martin is one GIANT hero. And we could all learn from his example, one step at a time.

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