, Derry, New Hampshire

January 31, 2013

Heroes among us

Derry News

---- — Two good Samaritans made headlines over the weekend when they pulled a Londonderry man from his wrecked vehicle before it burned beyond recognition. They also pulled the man’s dog to safety.

It’s pretty staggering to consider people risking their own lives to try to save that of a stranger, but that’s just what happened.

Dramatic though their efforts were, they’re not the only community heroes to be found in Derry and Londonderry.

Head to Hampton Beach this weekend and watch a number of local residents race into the frigid Atlantic during the annual Penguin Plunge, all to support the state’s Special Olympics programs.

Count among those brave souls Londonderry police Lt. Tim Jones, Londonderry’s Special Forces team and Nicole Ferrante of the Derry Recreation Department.

Don’t forget the 169 people who lined up to have their locks shorn earlier this month at Londonderry High School’s seventh annual Pantene Beautiful Lengths event, donating their hair to those battling cancer.

Last week, we mentioned a canine hero, Derry dog Sesame. He barked insistently one cold January morning until his owners investigated and discovered their neighbor, lying in his driveway.

Derry trailblazers rightfully celebrated the completion of the local rail trail last year, a staggering accomplishment that took many hours of sweaty work, fundraising and persistence.

Now, Londonderry volunteers are doing the same to get trail work underway there, trying to help complete project that ultimately will link Methuen to Lebanon, 115 miles of rail trail.

A group of Derry residents is working to find a way to save Adams Pond and its dam, citing the historic value of those assets, something once lost that can’t be replaced.

And speaking of history, our own columnist Richard Holmes is a hero of historic proportions, researching, revering and sharing local history, work that will serve generations to come.

At the other end of the spectrum, young Daisy and Brownie Scouts went to Derry’s Central Fire Station last week, bringing with them stuffed bears the girls had made. They were delivering them so firefighters could distribute them to children in need of comfort in traumatic situations.

The Marching Lancers, pride of Londonderry High and the state of New Hampshire, made people sit up and take notice last week when they stepped sharply up Pennsylvania Avenue and past President Obama and his assembled guests.

Dressed smartly in their red, white and blue uniforms, and led by a talented and colorful color guard, the 262 students celebrated the inauguration with a medley of patriotic tunes.

Their second inaugural parade appearance in four years was truly awesome. They looked great, sounded great and well represented the Granite State, perhaps best known in Washington for its first-in-the-nation primary status.

But the Lancers didn’t parachute in from a chartered flight. Six coach buses and an instrument truck carried the band, chaperones and music directors south in a caravan that was on the road for about 12 hours.

It took countless hours of rehearsal and dedication to make the cut, no matter how celebrated the band might be locally.

It also took many hours of fundraising, planning and logistical work to get the band on to Pennsylvania Avenue.

The student musicians and color guard deserve sound applause, but so, too, do the parents, chaperones, business supporters and music department members who helped make another dream a reality.

The list truly is endless. The lack of a mention here does not equate to exclusion from hero status.

Derry and Londonderry are communities of heroes, some of lifesaving proportion, others quietly working to make the world better for the greater community.

That’s invaluable.