ABOUT DISASTER HEROES
ABOUT DISASTER HEROES
Named a 'Librarian's Pick' by the U.S. Natural Hazards Center
Featured at The White House during FEMA's 2016 Individual & Community Preparedness Awards ceremony
Recently featured on TV talk show 'The Social'
Highlighted in the Hurricane Katrina 10-year Anniversary Report
Foreword written by the Hon. Tom Ridge, first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Perhaps the best description of Disaster Heroes' mandate comes courtesy of the Honorable Tom Ridge, First Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In the foreword to Disaster Heroes, Ridge writes: “Suzanne Bernier has compiled a moving selection of stories from philanthropic men and women around the globe who acted with compassion and love in the face of catastrophe, be it natural or man-made. They didn’t just talk about what should be done; they did it. They helped rescue, rebuild, and restore a faith in humanity that, especially in the face of such misfortune, can at times seem a foregone idea.”
The book, Disaster Heroes - Invisible Champions of Help, Hope and Healing tells the stories of ordinary men, women, and children who have done remarkable things to help respond, recover, and rebuild following some of the world’s most significant modern disasters.
Disaster Heroes focuses on everyday people – the hidden heroes – whose bravery and compassion seemingly arrived out of nowhere. Many of these uplifting stories cross cultures, countries, and continents, highlighting the fact there are no borders when it comes to helping others.
For every disaster reported in the media, there are thousands of inspiring and uplifting stories we don’t ever hear about. Disaster Heroes seeks to change this by highlighting and empowering helpers and heroes from around the world to make a difference following disasters.
Some of the featured heroes include:
Captain Mohamed Gouda and the Miracle on the Hudson: While viewers worldwide watched Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger safely land US Airways Flight 1549 in the middle of the Hudson River, the efforts of Mohamed Gouda went unnoticed. A shy and soft-spoken NYC ferry boat captain, Gouda risked his safety by navigating to the ditched aircraft and rescuing several stranded passengers and crew. Thanks to his quick thinking and heroic actions, a female passenger owes her life to Captain Gouda, who plucked her out of the freezing water after she slid off the icy wing.
Brandon Fisher and the 2010 Chilean Mine Rescue: Upon hearing of the devastating mine collapse in Copiapo, Chile, young Pennsylvania engineer Brandon Fisher was convinced he had the necessary equipment to save the 33 trapped miners – in half the time originally projected by the country’s officials. Through tireless perseverance, he eventually convinced the Chilean government to allow him and his men to spearhead the rescue efforts with what became known as ‘Plan B’. Following a month of non-stop drilling – in the middle of one of the world’s most uninhabitable deserts – every last man was safely rescued thanks to this American innovator and hero.
Nobuyuki Kobayashi and the Japan Earthquake / Tsunami: A successful professional photographer from Tokyo, Nobuyuki Kobayashi abandoned his career and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to take portraits of tsunami survivors who’d lost everything, including their cherished family photos. Kobayashi created a volunteer team of professional photographers and make-up artists, who took free family portraits of the tsunami survivors, helping them to heal and rebuild their lives. The portraits were then sent to schoolchildren in non-disaster areas, who mailed them back to the survivors – now framed -- along with personal handwritten messages of support.