I took the call that December morning out of habit because when you’re a reporter you always take the call, even if you’re standing shoulder high in moving boxes.
The editor told me they had captured Saddam Hussein. He’d been found hiding in a hole. Could I come in and help cover it for the paper? Maybe find a local angle?
I have a moving truck in my driveway, I said, while the snow began to cover the streets and inch up toward the curb. I could see my brother-in-law helping my husband move furniture down the stairs. The heavy lifting had just begun.
I don’t know how well it would go over if I left them here to do all the work. Call me back if you don’t find someone else, I said.
No other phone call came. Another reporter worked that weekend while Brian and I unpacked in our first house.
I’d find out years later, after the U.S. government declassified the information, that I had the local angle that day. While I opened boxes in Rochester, the interrogator who gathered scraps of information and then bound them together to mark a path to Saddam Hussein was flying home – and home, for us, is the same place.
Army Staff Sergeant Eric Maddox and I grew up in a little town outside of Tulsa, Okla., where he played football and made good grades, even in his advanced classes. He might not admit it, but he was pretty popular. He could have used that to be mean to other kids, but he seemed to always choose kindness. He was one of the really good guys in our graduating class. And that good guy grew up to be a good man, with medals and national honors, with a book about his life and a movie in the wings.
He’s a hero, for sure. While I’m still shocked that I have a friend who made international history, I’m not surprised that the friend is Eric. It’s easy to see how God laid a foundation for greatness in his life – and how God continues to create heroes.
Look for the kid who defends the littlest and the left-out. Find the teen who calls home to get a safe ride. Watch for the young man who serves the homeless.
You might find you know heroes, too.