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HOLMBERG: Never forget, lifesavers far outnumber lifetakers

Posted at 11:24 PM, Jul 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-23 06:42:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Every massacre, like the one in Aurora, Colorado, drains a little of our faith in each other.

Because we wallow in it, dwell on it, focus on the perpetrators, which is what they want.

But they are tiny few.

There are many more lifesavers than lifetakers.

The list is endless.

How about Capt. Joshua James with the US Lifesaving service. In the 1800s he saved hundreds of lives off the New England Coast. He could find a shipwreck – feel it - in the dark or heavy fog.

Medics, nurses, doctors and scientists save lives by the thousands every week.

Abel Wolman and Linn Enslow developed the system for chlorinating water, saving an estimated 177 million lives.

Many of these types of people value other’s lives more than their own. That’s your average cop and firefighter. We saw that at ground zero on 9/11.

And among the citizens on United Flight 93 that day.

But usually, we don’t see the faces of lifesavers repeatedly on the national news.

Last year, 19-year-old Bobby O’Quinn III lost his life while rescuing a little girl from drowning and trying to save another in Lake Okhissa, Mississippi.

That kind of sacrifice is the backbone of our military. It happens so often we rarely celebrate it, as we did with the movie “Blackhawk Down” about the selfless courage of Army sergeants Randall Shughart and Gary Gordon.

One of my favorite lifesavers died recently. Richmonder Dr. Paul Ferrara paved the way for our national DNA databank, which has captured numerous rapists and murderers, stopping them from striking again, while freeing many wrongly accused.

There are nearly 314 million souls in this country, the vast majority of them wonderful people.

No, we’re not all heroes. Mostly, we’re just trying to do the right thing.

Don’t let the occasional tragedy like Friday’s make you think the lifetakers are gaining on the lifesavers.