Category Archives: hero

Lachlan Nally Saved His Father’s Life On Monday

Matthew and his 11 year old son Lachlan Nally of Australia were in a car wreck on January 21, 2007. Matthew is alive because of the quick and fearless action young Lachlan took.

The car the two was in rolled several times before coming to a stop. Lachlan quickly checked on his father who was not breathing. Using first aid skills he had learned in school Lachlan known to friends as Lochie performed mouth to mouth resuscitation until his father started to breath on his own. Knowing that in the remote area that they had wrecked would not likely be receiving quick traffic Lochie ran through the wilderness barefoot and hurt himself to get help for his father.

Lochie ran to the only place he knew of in Koolunga where he and his dad had just been, an old tin roofed pub. His persistent knocking at the door woke the owners who called for help.

Kim March, Lachlan’s mother found out about the ordeal at 3 a.m. when the police brought her son home.

He jumped out the window and he ran for help and that just blew me away,” Ms. March said. “For 3 kilometers and it’s pitch dark by yourself . . . for a little boy it’s, like, amazing, so I told him he’s saved his Dad’s life.”

Lachlan was given a bravery award for saving his father’s life. Lachlan suffered seat-belt burns to his neck, two lumps on his head and a graze on his lower back.

Matthew Nally is still in critical condition at Royal Adelaide Hospital where he was taken by helicopter.

The local police chief said Lachlan would receive a bravery award.

“We think it’s one of the more heroic acts we’ve seen here and the police will certainly be recognising that in some form.”

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The New Homeless Vet

An old sad story is being revisited in the United States, that of the homeless vet. Young, angry and unable to cope with the world around them after war. The Vietnam War showed my generation a new war vet, this generation gets the Iraqi War Vet.

“People come back from war different,” Peter Mohan

There is no question that war changes a person. Having to watch death up close does emotional damage. Fearing that today may well be the day that you die everyday for long periods can trigger paranoia.

The U.S. has been in war for seven years starting with the bombing in Afghanistan and two years later Iraq.

Dealing with the mental scars of war isn’t new. During the Civil War boys came home addicted to morphine. They were called tramps, searching for a job often while war wounds hadn’t even mended.

The “Bonus Army” from WW1 demanded their benefits that had been promised them.

We didn’t witness those lost, they are long dead. We did and do witness the boys from ‘Nam. Lost, rejected, on emotional edge. Movies have been made about these souls that left their innocence behind on the killing fields.

The United States has a new group to add to the homeless vet, those returning from another war that has divided a country. There have been at least 1,500 vets from Iraq and Afghanistan identified by the government. The Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that 36,000 veterans were homeless for some time during 2006.

Those who work with homeless vets fear that the coming years will bring on a huge wave of lost souls wrapped in a blanket with no home as vets return to struggle with post-traumatic stress.

As the United States braces itself for this wave there is a resounding question being asked “How? Why?”

“I really wish I could answer that question,” says Anthony Belcher, an outreach supervisor at New Directions, which conducts monthly sweeps of Skid Row in Los Angeles, identifying homeless veterans and trying to help them get over addictions.

“It’s the same question I’ve been asking myself and everyone around me. I’m like, wait, wait, hold it, we did this before. I don’t know how our society can allow this to happen again.”

The how is easy even if it is a sad issue. Mental illness, money trouble and not being able to find a home within budget are the primary causes of homelessness when it concerns veterans of wars.

The Vietnam Vet also had the issue of drug abuse. That issue does not appear to be a concern with those returning from the Middle East. What does seem to be affecting those that back it home is the multiple deployments and abundance of roadside bombings is triggering stress disorders.

Stress disorders started appearing in ‘Nam Vets about 10 years after they returned home. The returning soldiers from the Middle East are having signs of the disorders much sooner.

“There’s something about going back, and a third and a fourth time, that really aggravates that level of stress,” said Michael Blecker, executive director of Swords to Plowshares,” a San Francisco homeless-vet outreach program.

“And being in a situation where you have these IEDs, everywhere’s a combat zone. There’s no really safe zone there. I think that all is just a stew for post-traumatic stress disorder.”

While this war does not reflect the harsh homecomings that Vietnam is shamefully remembered for once a vet is home those around them quickly move on from the homecoming. The promised jobs don’t always come. Those who haven’t been in the war don’t understand them.

War changes people,” says John Driscoll, vice president for operations and programs at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “Your trust in people is strained. You’ve been separated from loved ones and friends. The camaraderie between troops is very extreme, and now you feel vulnerable.”

The VA spends about $265 million annually on programs targeting homeless veterans. And as Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face problems, the VA will not simply “wait for 10 years until they show up,” Pete Dougherty, the VA’s director of homeless programs, said when the new figures were released.

“We’re out there now trying to get everybody we can to get those kinds of services today, so we avoid this kind of problem in the future,” he said.

Help may come but sadly there will always be that fraction that slips away unnoticed.

It’s collateral damage.


Teen Uses Knowledge From Mythbusters To Save A Life

Julian Shaw is a fan of the show MythBusters. Mark O’Dwyer is alive today because of that fact. O’Dwyer, 54 almost bought the farm when he fainted and fell onto the track at Lisarow train station.

Shaw was waiting for his train with school friends when he saw the older man fall onto the tracks. The 9th grader leapt onto the tracks lifting the heavier man up with a freight train closing in on them.

The teen who is a member of the punk rock band Checkered Fist moved O’Dwyer to the edge of the track and rolled him under the platform. There was still danger though as the suction on the now passing train tried to pull them into it. That’s where MythBusters comes in.

“[As the train roared past] the noise pierced your ears and there was a suction that pulled us in,” Julian said.

“I’d seen that on MythBusters, so I stayed right back and pulled Mark back towards me.”

The young man is a hero now. He stayed with O’Dwyer until an ambulance arrived to carry the North Gosford resident to hospital. The older man is very grateful for the fast thinking that prompted Julian to risk his own life while saving him.

Shaw has used the experience to write a song featuring the chorus, “I saved your soul.”

The Department of Education has sent the young hero a formal letter of commendation.

“It was scary [but] I probably would have felt heaps bad if I didn’t jump in,” he said.

“Everyone at school knows about it – kids are buying me ice-blocks and hamburgers.”

O’Dwyer suffered a back injury, three fractured ribs, a fractured shoulder, damaged knee and general bruising. He is now recovering at home.

“What an amazing young man,” said Mr O’Dwyer,”What he did was amazing. He took it upon himself and saved my life.

“I was very emotional [afterwards], I gave him a hug and thanked him for saving my life.”