Tap into your inner heroism

Rory Rottschalk, a 40-year resident of Chico and a graduate of Chico State, is vice president of the structural engineering firm Culp and Tanner. He and his company work with public and private institutions to enhance social services.

“He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

What is it about selfless courage that we find so stirring? Why is it that this is the recurring theme that tugs at our hearts in countless songs and movies, causing us to determine to be a “better” person?

Could it be that deep inside we are all destined to be heroes? Certainly we recognize the longing to be there at the right moment, just in time to “save the day.”

As human beings, this is something we share, something that connects us at the “heart” level. We all want to be heroes—we just lack the opportunity … or so it seems.

Surely there are ample souls around us who could use a hand, who can’t seem to find their footing. If we think about it, we can even see their faces: the homeless man on the street, the first-grader with a hard home life, the meth addict with an empty stare, the high school kid who doesn’t quite fit in.

Do we have what it takes to mount a rescue operation? How does such an effort fit into our already busy lives?

Sometimes even heroes need a gentle nudge to get started. Along the way, when “heroing” seems more like a 9-to-5 job than the quick fix we were hoping for, we know we won’t be able to make it alone. So, we hesitate … and wait … and years go by.

Perhaps the stage is set for us more than we recognize. Organizations such as Butte County Children’s Services, The Jesus Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and many others provide an open door into a hurting life that desperately needs a champion.

What if as a community we decided it was our (my) responsibility to “reach out and touch someone"? We could align ourselves with these organizations, sharing the challenge of communicating hope to the hopeless. We could offer encouragement, resources and caring hearts. They could point us in the right direction and help us when we stall.

Need an example? A social worker is responsible for a boy placed in foster care, but she has 29 other active cases. A community volunteer steps in to become an advocate for the boy, and another volunteer coaches his parents on responsible living.

The task of social healing is too great for our professional social servants alone. As community members, we lack access and training. But together, we can make a difference. Perhaps “heroing” is more a community thing than an individual activity. A community alliance of “all of us” and our service organizations just might be able to get the job done.