America has been described as a society that devalues and stereotypes its elders. Members of the older generation are often labeled as "doddering", "feeble", or in some way no longer able to contribute to our society. It's called Ageism…and it is an attitude that runs rampant within our culture. This past Saturday, in the midst of the horrible attack in Tucson, Arizona, the actions of the following "senior" citizens more than exemplified the value of our older generation, a generation that has been known for putting the needs of others before their own. We would like to recognize these people for their brave actions that saved the lives of others:
Dorwin Stoddard, 76 years old: Mr. Stoddard was fatally shot as he physically shielded his wife from the shooter. Mr. Stoddard was an active part of his community and his church.
Bill Badger, 74 years old: A retired army colonel and military pilot. He was grazed on the back of his head by a bullet, yet was able to help subdue the shooter.
George Morris, 76years old: Retired marine and airline pilot. Mr. Morris moved to shield his wife as well. His wife, Dottie, was shot and died at the scene. Mr. Morris was seriously injured.
Patricia Maisch, 61 years old: Ms. Maisch was able to remove two ammunition magazines from the reach of the shooter.
There were many heroes at the scene this last Saturday, young and old alike. As we move forward from this event, let this be a reminder that a person's age is not a determinant of one's value or public worth.