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Lessons learned in a tragedy


A bomb was detonated in Boston. Lives were forever scarred by their wounds and the city’s historic marathon will always bear the mark of an asterisk. The same graphic photos were shown repeatedly—until we became familiar with some of the agonized faces.

The real heroes were faceless and nameless, in a city also known for a TV show about a place called Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name.” They were the marathon runners and emergency personnel who refused to run away from the tragedy. Instead, they ran to it.

Hundreds of brave men and women whose names would never make it to video or print ran to the victims, binding wounds, holding bloodied hands, hugging the trembling. Some of the marathoners removed pieces of running gear to use as tourniquets. Emergency personnel braved their lives to reach the victims, huddling over them in obscurity—except for the Police, Physician, or EMT signs on the backs.

People with the smallest profile often make the greatest difference. Most of the wounded will never meet those who helped them, but they will never forget what they did.

I don’t know what rung of the organizational ladder you may be standing on, but I know you have the opportunity to bind the wounds of others and bring them hope in their despair.

Servant-leadership doesn’t always have a nameplate. You can lead without a title as well as you can with one. How?

Look for the hurting. Some within your organization have wounds. Family or friends have betrayed them. Their children have turned from them. They are struggling with life. They need someone like you who will be willing to take their eyes off the race long enough to run to them.

Don’t be afraid of soiled hands. For some who tended the bleeding, there wasn’t time to put on protective gloves or check medical histories, there were arteries that needed pressure applied. The Savior said he didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; their present condition was more compelling than their recent history.

Pray for the results. Those first responders would never see the victims’ recovery. They could only treat them and turn them over to those more skilled; but they would forever know the joy of helping them survive the interim; and they would pray for the best.

Some awesome leader skills were demonstrated on that tragic day.

You are loved.