We’re entering the slow news season and as I patrol the internet looking for items of interest, I’m noticing various stories in many states declaring someone a person of the year.
I’ve thought about opening up a competition for such a thing for NewsCut readers but then decided not to bother because we’re too conditioned to think about politicians and people in the news on an ongoing basis and, well, they bore me after a year of coverage.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in 10 years of writing NewsCut, it’s how incredibly difficult it is to get people to name those who’ve crossed their paths in a year who are worthy of recognition.
It’s our fault, actually. We’ve so narrowed and templated what news is and who “newsmakers” are, that people — you — start defining it the same way, to the exclusion of any attention paid to our unassuming personal heroes. And yet, on those occasions when such a person rises above the noise of news, those are the stories that resonate with us the most. If there’s logic in that, it escapes me.
All of that is a roundabout way to refer you to this commentary from Alfredo Garcia, a paralegal in Dallas, whose commentary today in the Dallas Morning News submitted a perfect example in his nomination for Texan of the Year.
His father, Dr. Alfredo Tomas Garcia III, a cardiologist, checked in with his hospital’s ER the day before Hurricane Harvey hit, and was the only cardiologist who made it in.
“The next day a patient managed to row up to the hospital in a kayak for an immediate surgery. So they tied their boat up and we were able to get their situation under control. A little while after this, I checked in to the ER to see if I could help, and a physician asked me to help get a patient’s dislocated arm back in their socket. And still more patients kept arriving through the weekend.
“I stayed at the hospital through Tuesday morning, catching sleep for a few hours on my office couch or running home for a few hours to rest in bed and check on your mother. But that Tuesday morning, we got word at the hospital that the [Barker-Addicks] reservoir might fail, so I helped the team at the hospital move furniture and equipment up from the first floor to higher ground.
“Luckily the reservoir engineering held up and water didn’t come into the hospital. But the hospital did make sure to transfer the most critical patients by helicopter as a precaution.
“I stayed at West Houston through Tuesday night until about 9 or 10 — 5 evenings straight — and then I went home to collapse. After about 13 or 14 hours of sleep, I came back to the hospital Wednesday and it was very quiet, not as many admissions or patients, because people could not get to the hospital with surrounding streets flooded.
“After almost 70 years of living and 37 of those years as a doctor, I know how to set an example, how to behave accordingly, be a good Scout and all that. It’s pretty simple really: we help each other because we understand we are required to help another. It’s in our nature as people and by our training as healers to do this.
As journalists, I think we fail on a fairly consistent basis because we gravitate toward issues more than people. We make the world an academic place and the humanity gets lost pretty quickly.
It’s pretty hard for people to set an example, when we can’t or won’t give them attention.
Maybe next December, I will put out a call for a person of the year. That gives you an entire year to keep an eye out for a nominee.