Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hometown Heroes and Why I Wrote a Guest Editorial

Tomorrow morning, one of my Operations & Information Management students, who is in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class that I am teaching this semester, will be attending with me the Hometown Heroes event at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA.

We will be the guests of Mr. Rick Lee, the Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, who spoke in my class in February.

The Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross provides emergency response in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties in western Massachusetts and is also behind a model call center for servicemen.

According to a lovely article in The Springfield Republican: The chapter created the Hometown Heroes program in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Lee said. The idea was partially to help bridge gaps in funding left when so much charitable giving went to causes related to those attacks.
But the larger reason was, and remains, giving the community a way to honor people who go above and beyond to help others.

And in the beautiful words of Mr. Rick Lee:
"We are celebrating one of the most beautiful aspects of the human heart, which is kindness," Lee said.

This year 9 Hometown Heroes will be honored.

In addition to Mr. Rick Lee, this semester, we have hosted Mr. Jeff Hescock of UMass Amherst, Dr. Pierre Rouzier of UHS at UMass Amherst, Mr. Dave Madsen of WGGB, and even the other Dr. Nagurney, my husband, who gave a guest lecture on Disaster Communications.  The students and I were so inspired by these remarkable individuals that I wrote a Guest Editorial, Community Experts Enhance Disaster Management Education as Guest Speakers at the Isenberg School of Management at UMassabout their talks (with the exception of my husband's since he was guest lecturing when I was out of town), which was published the other day on

I had to thank these very special people in a public way and that is why I wrote the Guest Editorial, which also features a photo of Mr. Rick Lee with the students in my class.

In addition, the Isenberg School of Management posted a two-part series on this course focusing on the presentation of Dr. Rouzier and also that of Mr. Madsen. Many thanks to the Communications Department and especially to Mr. Lou Wigdor who attended these lectures and wrote them up so eloquently.

We have amazing people in our midst, which deserve special honors and recognition and among those I include the above individuals.

We look forward to seeing Mr. Lee of the Red Cross again tomorrow and honoring this year's Hometown Heroes for their exceptional courage!  Even two UPS drivers will be honored (perfect humanitarian logistics example!)