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1Rags the Terrier
Rags the Terrier became the U.S. 1st Infantry Division’s dog mascot in World War I. He learned to run messages between the headquarters and the front lines-despite being bombed, gassed and one time even when he was blinded in one eye after being hit by a car. He also provided early warnings of incoming shells, saving many lives. Rags was presented with a number of medals and awards.
Casey Jones was an American railroader who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1895, he saved the life of a young girl by standing on the moving train’s cow-catcher and picking the girl up off the track. In 1900, he was killed when his passenger train, the Cannonball Express collided with a stalled freight train. None of his passengers were hurt. Jones yelled at his partner to jump off the train, while he stayed back to slow down it down.
In 2002, Navy Seal Stephen “Turbo” Toboz was part of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan to rescue a captured teammate. They were ambushed. Turbo was shot in the leg shattering his bones, making a fist-sized hole in his calf. He managed to crawl in 3 feet of snow, fighting pain, blood loss, and the -20 degree weather, all while providing cover fire for his team. They made it out 18 hours later and Turbo lost 3 liters of blood. While recovering, annoyed by the slow pace of his recovery, he asked the doctor to amputate his leg and give him a bionic leg. Nine months later, he rejoined his team and took part in active missions.
Theodore Roosevelt was an avid boxer and became the first American ever to receive a brown belt in Judo. He lined the White House basement with training mats and sparred with anyone that was willing including boxing champion John Sullivan, his wife, and a Swiss minister.
5Maurice Rowland & Miguel Alvarez
When a Californian elderly care home went bankrupt, about 16 elderly residents were abandoned. All the staff left, but a janitor and the cook named Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez stayed behind to care for the residents at their own expenses.
6Gladys May Aylward
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, a female British missionary in China named Gladys May Aylward protected orphans and soldiers and spied for the Chinese. Wounded in a strafing attack and beaten with a gun, she escaped and rescued 94 orphans and fled with them from Yangcheng to safety at Sian (240 miles over mountains and river).
7The Chernobyl divers
Ten days after the Chernobyl 4 disaster, further risk of massive thermal explosion was identified. Three men, now known as the “The Chernobyl divers” volunteered to swim through the radioactive pooled water under leaked reactor to find and release the safety valves. The water came up to their knees but the men lived long lives.
Three men forced their way into the house of a 67-year-old man named Kenneth Byrd. They intended to rape his granddaughter and steal the money in his safe. He agreed to open the safe and take out the cash, but instead took out his gun and shot all of them. One of them shot him 8 times. One of them died and the other two were injured and apprehended. Byrd recovered.
Pier Donia was a Dutch farmer when the Civil War broke out in the Netherlands in 1515. His wife and children were killed by the king’s soldiers. He swore to take revenge and despite having no experience with a boat or a gun, he formed a band of pirates. By the end of 1515, he captured 28 Dutch navy boats and soon started burning villages of high-class citizens. When King Charles V sent his entire fleet to stop him, Pier captured them all. He carried with him a 7-foot long sword that could behead multiple people with one swing. After realizing that he became the very thing he’d set out to defeat, he retired and died of natural causes a year later.
Cameron Lyle, a college senior track and field athlete was awarded the NCAA’s Award of Valor in 2013 for ending his collegiate career one month early, ending his chances for a gold medal, in order to be a bone marrow donor to a 28-year-old father with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.