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Shining World Hero Award: Ready to Lay Down Their Lives for Others    
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Everywhere in the world, we can observe and be touched by acts of kindness. People from all walks of life, faiths, and cultures extend themselves beyond the call of duty to help others unconditionally. Through their noble deeds, humanity as a whole is elevated.

To commend virtuous actions and encourage more people to be inspired by their examples, Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly created a series of awards, including the Shining World Leadership Award, Shining World Compassion Award, Shining World Hero and Heroine Awards, Shining World Honesty Award, Shining World Protection Award, Shining World Intelligence Award, and Shining World Inventor Award, to recognize some of the most exemplary, generous, caring, and courageous people who walk amongst us.

Greetings, loving viewers, and welcome to today’s Shining World Award edition, featuring three heroes whose life-saving actions are truly inspirational. The first is Father Thomas Remedios Fernandes, a Catholic priest from Goa Province of India, who rescued 3 drowning youths. They were parishioners from Father Fernandes’ church.

Yes, they were gone for the picnic on that day. It was on Sunday, so they left in the morning. And it was after the lunch that the girls want to have a bath in the water. So then suddenly the screaming started. Father just went in the water to come get them out of the water. So, after getting them out of the water, he came up and he fell. He was a good swimmer. And the situation was that he had to save these three children. So after it was like a very hard situation there in the water and his body also got very much tired, maybe.

Father Fernandes collapsed after he rescued the third youth. He was immediately rushed to the local health center but sadly could not be revived. The loss of a selfless human being who devoted his life to God was mourned by many.

He was very fun, loving and always helpful, always smiling. Whenever we saw him in the church, he would be with the small people, small friends, and small boys, girls, so I think the most he loved was the youth.

A man of God, Father Fernandes had lived by this motto: “Love thy enemy more than you love yourself.” Yes, this is written in Konkani, the mother language of this place Goa. So on this it is written that “love thy enemy more than yourself.” These are the words from him to the people. So this is what he meant here, through these words. He was always talking about love which he meant through his heart because a lot of people they used to talk about the emotions, so their problems, they used to share with him, because they knew they could find some solution through him.

And he was all out for everybody.

For his courageous and selfless deed in rescuing the youth, Supreme Master Ching Hai honored Father Thomas Fernandes posthumously with the Shining World Hero Award, accepted by his mother. Our Association representative read the letter by Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Dear Mrs. Fernandes, It was with much sadness that I heard about the passing away of your beloved son Reverend Father Thomas Fernandes. In his honor we would like to present to your family the Shining World Hero Award. This award is presented in recognition of his outstanding courage and selflessness, sacrificing himself to save lives… His heroic act of saving these children and willingness to risk his own life will live in our hearts as a man who lived what he preached...

On behalf of our entire association and all our members please convey our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to all your family. May God bless and protect you and provide you with the strength and loving comfort your family needs during your mourning for your such loved son, the late Reverend Father Thomas Fernandes. With heart honor, love and blessing, Supreme Master Ching Hai

Gifts were offered to the family, including Supreme Master Ching Hai’s #1 international bestsellling books and DVDs. In addition, Mrs. Fernandes was presented with US$3,000 from Supreme Master Ching Hai, who conveyed that if the family would allow, to please use it towards inscribing on Father Thomas Fernandes’ tombstone that he was hero for saving three children’s lives so that others can see his noble example.

Father Fernandes’ family and friends expressed their appreciation for the recognition. The life of Father Thomas Fernandes shall live on in the hearts of all who had been touched by his principled presence.

Our next hero is Nathan Yassen from Massachusetts, USA. This brave 19-year-old successfully brought his elderly neighbor, Ms. Nina Sullivan, to safety from her burning house.

How did you become aware that your neighbor was in danger?

I saw the fire come out of the window, so I ran back in the house, grabbed the fire extinguisher, and ran across the street, told my mom to call 911. I ran to the front, the door was stuck, so I kicked it. I saw her in the kitchen, looking for her purse, so I grabbed it and I told her “Let’s go” and I coasted her out of the house.

What was going through your mind at this time?

Just to get her out.

You didn’t think about your own safety?

Not at all.

The timely actions of courageous Nathan saved the life of his neighbor and inspired many. Nathan has been recognized by Supreme Master Ching Hai as a Shining World Hero in a ceremony where he was presented with the award plaque, an award letter, Supreme Master Ching Hai’s #1 international bestselling books and DVDs, as well as Supreme Master Ching Hai’s gift of US$500 for books.

This award is presented in recognition of your extraordinary bravery in the face of danger, for demonstrating the heights that friendship can reach in saving precious life, and for providing the community a sense of peace, knowing we are being protected in a safer world.... What a courageous young man you are, an exemplary model for all youth. Nathan, we commend your daring life-saving actions. May the news of your amazing rescue spread far and wide, inspiring further good deeds and expanding the care and love shown in society.

For your outstanding bravery and unhesitating response, for your attentiveness, warmhearted love for a friend in need, and for being a dedicated and outstanding role model, we hereby applaud you and celebrate the epic deeds of Nathan Yassen, heroic youth of today. With great honor, love and blessing, Supreme Master Ching Hai

Thank you.

May God bless you, Nathan Yassen, for your concern and love towards others and for wisely springing into life-saving action. May you be blessed with happiness and abundance, and to continue to do good works to benefit others.

Our last Shining World Hero for today’s edition is 12-year-old Devon Byrd from Tennessee, USA who rescued his 6-year-old brother, Andon, from their flaming residence. Unfortunately, during this tragic accident, Devon’s mother, two sisters and two other family members perished in the fire.

Well, first part, I was tossing around in my bed, and I thought it was just me. I didn't know it was a fire yet. And then I heard my sister screaming. So I went to go check it, I opened the door, and I barely could see though, but I felt a lot of heat on my face. So I went back, and woke up my brother as fast as I could. It took me a few kicks to get the window, then I cleared it, and when we jumped out, all I remember was seeing the porch and part of the house on fire. I went to my cousin Matthew’s. And I banged on the door and they called 9-1-1.

Devon sustained injuries on his feet, legs and wrist, requiring 53 stitches at the hospital. Due to his quick actions, however, his brother Andon was uninjured.

This impressive valiance exhibited by Devon was recognized with a Shining World Hero Award from Supreme Master Ching Hai, along with US$2,000 toward his and his brother’s recovery, with all her love. He was also presented with gifts including Supreme Master Ching Hai’s #1 international bestselling books, DVDs, and a hero jacket.

This Award is presented in recognition of the immense courage, selfless love, and quick-thinking composure you displayed in rescuing your brother during the heart-wrenching fire that claimed your loved ones. Sadly, and with all our love and deepest sympathy, we commiserate with the loss of your brave and beloved mother, your two tiny young sisters, and two other family members, who also lost their lives in the flames.

Your mother is surely smiling down on her two brave boys from a place of great peace and heavenly beauty. We know how proud she would be of you and what words of love and comfort she would whisper to you now. For retaining your cool in such a terrifying situation, for displaying a maturity way beyond your years, and for your spirit of courage and endurance that has inspired an outpouring of loving kindness in your close-knit community, we hereby applaud and celebrate the extraordinary deeds of Devon Byrd, noble hero, beloved son, and ever faithful brother. With great honor, love and blessings, Supreme Master Ching Hai

Okay, Devon Byrd, from Supreme Master Ching Hai, in loving kindness, wanting to give you this check of US$2,000 for you.

Thank you so much.

Thoughtful Devon, our applause for your maturity beyond your age. May you and your brother Andon be blessed immensely with bright tomorrows.

Virtuous viewers, thank you for your company on today’s program. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. Coming up next is Words of Wisdom, after Noteworthy News. May all be graced with Heaven’s love and protection.
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