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Shining World Hero Award: Selflessness in the Face of Danger    
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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.

Today our program on Supreme Master Television features a very special hero who gave his life to save others in danger. Mr. Douglas Frank Butler was visiting his family in Florida, USA on the occasion of his 47th birthday. He was together with his family and friends at Rickenbacker Beach in Miami, where Mr. Butler and his nephew were enjoying a swim.

But as they were leaving the water, they heard cries that some children had fallen into the water because the sandbar that they were standing on gave way. None of them knew how to swim and were struggling in the salty water. Without a moment’s hesitation, Mr. Butler and his nephew quickly swam their way to the children, ages 15, 12, 5, and 3.

Mr. Butler’s nephew saved one child while other good Samaritans pulled two other children from the water. Mr. Butler helped rescue the last child, a 5-year-old boy, by holding him above water with his every might so the child could breathe again. The boy was eventually pulled out of the water by others, but by then Mr. Butler had lost consciousness, and moments later, his life.

Mr. Butler’s sister, Kelly Holzknecht, who was on the beach on that day, recalled, “The last words I heard him say (were), “Don't worry I got you,” and he pushed the kid up above the water.” The youngsters were transferred for medical care to a local hospital. The hero’s loved ones were gracious enough to express their feelings with us, saying they will always remember his kind and gentle nature.

He was a very big man with a big heart. He was big in stature, he was big in spirit and he always had that big-heart bear hug for everybody. He was that type of man, that he had that light in his eyes and he would give everybody a bear hug, and his sisters remember it, I remember it, his friends remember – the big bear hug. And he was the same, as strong as his hugs were as big as his heart was.

This was the first night that he arrived in Barrow County to celebrate his birthday and to meet his nephew, and I had the best weekend with him ever. And we had so much fun and I’ll always remember that.

One thing that sticks out in my mind is that when we, we’re getting ready to go and we were in Lake Forest and lived there as kids, and he told Mary, “You see that hill right there, my sister used to hit it every morning at a hundred miles an hour and I bumped my head,” and I said “No, I didn’t,” and he goes “okay, ninety nine.” I’ll always remember him saying that and I’ll miss him a whole bunch.

He is the best brother any girl could ever have.

I just wanted to say that he was a good man, and that he had a heart of gold, and that basically, knowing the outcome, he would have done the same thing today. Knowing he was going to pass away, he still would have done the same thing, because it was about everybody else. He really wasn’t selfish, it wasn’t about selfishness. It was just, living life to the fullest every single day and having fun. (And he had a lot of it.) Yeah, he did a lot of fun.

A man who lived in the moment, and lived to love others. For his noble self-sacrifice, Supreme Master Ching Hai honored Mr. Douglas Frank Butler posthumously with the Shining World Hero Award. The following is an excerpt from Supreme Master Ching Hai’s letter of appreciation.

“…A great man has been lost, but his memory and acclaimed heroic deed will continue to inspire. After setting an exemplary model of good citizenship for humanity, he is free to return to Heaven, where his blessed reward awaits him.

On behalf of our entire Association and all our members, please convey our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to the family. May God bless and protect you all, and provide you with the strength and loving comfort your family needs during your mourning for Douglas Frank Butler. With Great Honor, Love and Blessing, Supreme Master Ching Hai”

And I would like to thank you guys for coming here and honoring him in such a great way. Just means a lot to me.

It means a lot to the whole family.

In addition to the crystal plaque and letter, Mr. Butler’s family received comforting gifts including Supreme Master Ching Hai’s books, “The Dogs in My Life,” “The Birds in My Life,” and “The Noble Wild.”

Thank you, thank you for your generosity.

Last but not least, Mr. Butler’s family was also presented with a monetary contribution of US$1,000 toward helping the family in their difficult time.

Thank you, we appreciate that, that you would honor us in so many different ways.

With our deep condolences to the cherished ones of Mr. Douglas Butler, We honor Mr. Butler for giving the most ultimate gift that anyone could give, that is, his life of selflessness and love. May his soul be blessed and rest serenely in Heaven.

It is wonderful to know of the brave and exceptional people among us. Next, let’s meet three recipients of the Shining World Heroine Award from Supreme Master Ching Hai.

The staff members at the German Home nursing home in Massachusetts, USA must always be on alert to the needs of those in their care. One day, they were called beyond their line of duty when they saw that the three-story building across the street was on fire. Rushing into action were nurses Ms. Denise Diaz and Ms. Lisa Robichaud, and Ms. Charlene Pigulski, the nursing home’s administrator.

Ms. Diaz first called the fire department. Meanwhile, knowing precious moments were slipping by, the three quickly set off to warn any residents who may be unaware of the flames. As they knocked on the doors, sparks and glass were flying about. Ms. Pigulski began shouting for the residents to get out, until her voice became hoarse.

Then, they noticed two women in the fenced back yard of the building with a toddler and an infant. They were locked within the tall wooden fence enclosing the yard. The three nursing home caregivers at first tried to bring the fence down using their shoulders but to no avail. Then, Ms. Pigulski climbed up on a snow bank next to the fence so she could receive the 2-month-old baby and hand him over to Ms. Robichaud to be safely brought to the nursing home.

In the same way, Ms. Pigulski also took the 18-month-old toddler by leaning on Ms. Robichaud to brace herself on the slippery snow bank. The two women, who were sisters, then managed to climb over the fence. If it weren’t for the three rescuers, the residents with their young children may have been harmed.

The aid then continued, as the German Home staff also offered their facilities as a temporary refuge to some of the 15 fire victims, keeping them warm and offering tea and snacks. It was an emotional day for everyone.

For their remarkable courage and neighborly assistance to strangers, Supreme Master Ching Hai honored Ms. Denise Diaz, Ms. Charlene Pigulski, and Ms. Lisa Robichaud with the Shining World Heroine Award. Ms. Diaz and Ms. Pigulski accepted the award on behalf of their colleague Ms. Robichaud who could not be present. The following is an excerpt from Supreme Master Ching Hai’s letter of recognition:

It is with much pleasure and gratitude that we present to you all the “Shining World Heroine Award.” This Award is presented in recognition of your exemplary courage, extraordinary team spirit and excellence in transcending beyond the call of duty to help and save precious lives, thus creating a kinder and safer world.

... Thank you nurses, for the unconditional love and care you displayed – you all are truly inspirational. May the blessings of the Almighty be showered upon you and your families and all those touched by your shining example of heroism.

For your outstanding bravery and life-saving efforts, for your kind-hearted generosity in providing comfort to the needy and for being dedicated and noble role models, we hereby applaud and celebrate the heroic deeds of Lisa, Denise and Charlene – Guardian Angels from the German Home Nursing Home. With Great Honor, Love and Blessings, Supreme Master Ching Hai”

The three award recipients were also each presented with a Heroine T-shirt, special cups featuring Supreme Master Ching Hai’s uplifting paintings, SM design purses, Supreme Master Ching Hai’s #1 international bestselling books, “The Dogs in My Life,” “The Birds in My Life,” and “The Noble Wilds,” and various other constructive books, CDs and DVDs.

Thank you!

Each nurse also received a vegan cake.

Thank you very much!

We’re accepting the award also on behalf of our co-worker Lisa Robichaud, who is a nurse also at the facility of the German Home in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She was unable to make it today due to a graduation for her child, and she would just also like to say thank you to Supreme Master Ching Hai for being so kind and thoughtful in awarding us with this beautiful plaque and all the gifts and the thoughtfulness of her. Thank you.

And we would just like to say thank you to Supreme Master Ching Hai for thinking of us and being so thoughtful and kind, and being such a beautiful woman, and understanding that we only did what was natural to us by saving those people out of a house fire.

And we would just like to say that, every day we think of other people, that’s what we do for a living. So what we did was something that came natural, and we only wish that every other person in this world would be as kind as to one another as we should be.

A heartfelt thank you to Ms. Diaz, Ms. Pigulski, and Ms. Robichaud for your examples of selfless love in action. As you have said, may the kindness and caring in everyone shine forth for a better world.

Loving viewers, thank you for your company on this program. Coming up next is Words of Wisdom, after Noteworthy News, on Supreme Master Television. May the joy of gratitude fill your heart.
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