How courageous are you? I wonder how courageous I am. I have been to some of the world's worst disasters and endured some bad conditions but that's part of what we do as journalists.
Would I be so motivated if it wasn't my job?
Since I've witnessed and lived the extreme difficulties in these disaster zones, I find it amazing that people show up to these situations voluntarily. The one thing that really sticks in my head when it comes to Haiti is how the volunteers who put themselves in harm's way really made the difference in helping victims survive. It was amazing to see.
Team Rubicon: In January, I met Jake Wood, a former Marine, who went from sitting on his couch watching the disaster, to taking it upon himself to do something about it. He got a team together (some fellow Marines: www.teamrubiconusa.org) and left for Haiti through the Dominican Republic. He literally recruited doctors on his flight. Three volunteered and Team Rubicon was in business.
I met up with Jake in Port au Prince. I watched him take charge and save lives. I found it remarkable how someone could go from their living room in LA to the rubble in Haiti in hours just because they had the motivation to do it.
One quick note; one of the doctors that attached himself to Jake's team ended up running the emergency room of Haiti's biggest hospital during the crisis.
Dr. Henri Ford: The next day, I met Dr. Henri Ford. His personal story is incredible, and once you meet him you realize it's no fluke. Dr. Ford is the Chief of Surgery for Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He's also Haitian and grew up just a mile from where I met him, a soccer field in Port au Prince, where he helped set up an amazing field hospital, saving lives just days after the quake.
As impressive as his intelligence, was his attitude. He has a remarkably positive energy. It's contagious and invaluable.
Even though I knew his heart was breaking over what was happening to his country, he forged ahead and refused to see anything but hope for the future.
In fact, Just days ago when I met with Dr. Ford again in Port au Prince, he called himself the eternal optimist. He's been flying back and forth from LA, refusing to slow down, knowing people in Haiti need him.
This last meeting was at Bernard Mervs Hospital. He's been volunteering there as a surgeon. They love him and they need him.
The reason I tell you about these two people, and there are so many more who belong in their category, is the lesson they taught me -- One person can make a difference.
But the one thing you absolutely must have if you want to be one of "those" people is courage.