Recognizing Heroic Individuals

Back in San Antonio, I have a friend whose dream is to be a world boxing champion "at least one time." He has hopes of buying his ailing mother a nice house and paying off the debts of his father's business. He said to me once, "We have to get our voices heard for the people who have "lost" their voices in the world or have had them "taken away" by death, forever." He continued, "Today, not all young people understand how fortunate they are to be able to go to school. They just drop out or skip class like I have done. Now, I think about having wasted even one day of learning that a young person in another country would die for."
Phong, the Vietamese immigrant whose story we were blessed to hear, told us that his favorite aspect of America was that in this country each person has the chance to be educated. He risked imprisonment and death for such a chance. Reflecting back, he spoke about reaching the ocean aboard an escape boat and hoping for the best along with well over one hundred people. Phong said that that there was another boat with just as many people on board, but they never made it. Only one person survived. He spoke about having an unknown destiny from month to month and year to year until gaining ground in America. He takes extra class to learn all that he can as he works for the Church and pursues his Masters Degree.
My friend, Phong, the lone survivor on that other boat, and all of us on this trip have been carried far enough by God to know that we are where we are for reasons well-known by the Holy Spirit. With the face of Jesus in mind, we have to listen, hear, and make our voices heard in the company of the everyday heroes we come to recognize and get to know throughout our daily experiences.

Luke Villafranca
Sophomore, St. Mary's University


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