Volumes of heros
Steve Flairty is in the business of recognizing the good in others with his second collection of stories about local folks who go the extra mile, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes 2; Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things (Wind Publications, $15).
So what makes a hero today? According to Flairty, “I call a hero one who overcomes extreme personal challenges and/or gives of themselves in a noble, sacrificial way, and who, in the process, inspires others to greater works of character. I focus on those who habitually, over a long period, demonstrate almost daily these admirable ways of facing life. ‘Staying power’ is a feature of the individuals I profile.”
When asked about his own heroic moments, Flairty humbly responds that he wouldn’t make the cut in his own books, but remembers fondly those who influenced him in his youth by taking him to church or encouraging him to keep writing.
“All sacrificed for me and did it with nothing tangible to gain,” Flairty says. “I loved to sit in the presence of adults and ask them questions and talk to them of my dreams. A little inspiration really motivated me to push past personal limits. I was a pretty average ability kind of a person but began to think big thoughts as others provided encouragement.”
Like the typical kid, Flairty’s childhood heroes were mostly based on famous people. “I devoured books about national, historical persons like Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln and all the presidents. I was a Reds fan and UK basketball fan, often imagining myself as a player who made the big catch or important shot,” he says.
As Flairty has toured the state for book signings, he has gained an appreciation for the distinct cultural differences of each region, saying, “I find that the eastern part of the state is the easiest place to find my heroes. People there love to bring honor to those who live exemplary lives. I grew up in the northern part, and it has a Midwest flavor. The western part of the state is very hospitable to visitors, and I enjoy the pretty greenery of the southern part. But if it’s Kentucky, I love it!”
Flairty is currently seeking nominations for his third collection of hero stories. To nominate someone, e-mail him at email@example.com or see his Facebook page.
If you are age 55 or older and looking for a job, check out the Experience Works program, available in 58 Kentucky counties. The community-based program helps low-income mature individuals develop skills, obtain training, enter the workforce, change careers, and supplement their income. The program also helps employers benefit from the talents of older workers.
To find out if you qualify, call (800) 842-4982. If Experience Works is not offered in your county, you will be referred to a similar program operating locally.
Five Western Kentucky University students rode their bikes 3,200 miles from California to Virginia to raise money for Alzheimer’s research and raise awareness of the disease.
Tyler Jury of Elizabethtown organized the ride in memory of his grandfather, Barrett Cummings, who died in July 2009. The group has raised nearly $40,000 toward a goal of $75,000 to benefit the Greater Kentucky/Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
The group collected stories of Alzheimer’s impact and posted videos at www.fijisacrossamerica.com. You can find more information about their fund-raising efforts, plus make a donation, at the Web site.
Matthew Bacon Sellers made the first powered airplane flight in Kentucky in 1908 at his family’s home in Carter County. An aviation pioneer who gained international prominence, Sellers also invented retractable landing gear while living in Kentucky.
A current-day Carter County resident, Tony Collier, has produced a 65-minute documentary on Sellers and his aviation career. The documentary, along with other Carter County videos, is available on Collier’s Web site at www.cartercountykyvideo.com.
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Driver is rescued from burning truck
A truck driver, knocked unconscious when his vehicle struck a tree and caught fire, was rescued recently by the quick action of Jack Thornberry, driver-salesman for the State Association of rural electric cooperatives, Louisville.
Thornberry was driving near Lafayette, Indiana, with a cargo of transformers when he rounded a curve about 10:30 at night and saw the wrecked truck with the cab afire. He stopped his truck, jumped out and pulled the driver out of the cab to safety.
Three men in a car stopped and took the injured man to a nearby town where he was given medical treatment.
Thornberry continued on his way without learning the name of the man whom he had saved from severe burns and perhaps death.