Unsung Heroes

Definition: “A person who makes a substantive, yet unrecognized contribution; a person whose bravery is unknown or not acknowledged”

Lady Justice, Nancy Grace and Me

If you look around our immediate environment, Ladyjustice is confident that we all know at least a few people who go above and beyond the call of duty for others. If on good terms, most would do such things for their family members… THAT… doesn’t make them a hero…  Biological ties have an unspoken responsibility …and love.

Unsung heroes go quietly about their business and serve others in extraordinary ways….  They do it expecting nothing at all in return. They are selfless, particularly when they see an emergent need for a person or organization for which they care about.

The people this writer refers to are not generally people “in the limelight.”  They often are your average citizens who have a calling and sense of compassion that exceeds typical boundaries. Such people get involved… whether it’s a one time first responder … or someone who makes a significant investment of time for one person, a group, or for “the greater good of all.”

Every reader might compose their own list… Ladyjustice knows of many people fitting this description at this juncture.  At this point in time, the following people continue to ‘capture LJ’s thought… and heart for one reason or another…  They should be acknowledged…. For it is never to late to admit, “My cup runneth over for you with love and admiration.”

 (A purely alphabetical list…)

Dr. Dalal Akoury

Founder, CEO- President of AwareMed Health and Wellness Resource Organization- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina;  Specialties in Pediatrics, Family Practice, Emergency Medicine; Hormone Specialist;  Medical Degree from the University of Alexandria Facility of Medicine , Alexandria, Egypt; Personal physician to Susan Murphy Milano.

Dr. Akoury is a founding member of the International Organization of Integrative Cancer Physicians.  She is fellowship trained and certified in anti-aging functional and regenerative medicine, and has more than twenty years of accumulated experience in emergency medicine and pediatrics. Dr. Akoury says, “My mission is to ignite the spark of health deep within everyone, and to allow this sparkle of wellness to shine through everyone’s eyes, becoming one with the universe, and aligning body, mind, and spirit.”    http://awaremed.com/about-us/awaremed-dr-akourys-wellness-rejuvenation-energy-institute

 Monica Caison

She is one of a brood of 11 children and native of Florida.  As a rebellious teenager she had her brush with the law, but…that experience made her grow up ever faster… and in the interim, she personally knew at least three families who had members “go missing” by the time she reached age 25!  Then, she had an epiphany, Why not create an agency specifically designed to locate missing persons and assist with the needs of their loved ones?   And that’s exactly what she did in 1994! She founded the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for Missing Persons, based in   Wilmington, North Carolina. Since that time, she has assisted over 9,000 families of the missing by providing absolutely free services (of which there are a boatload!).The organization is staffed by volunteers and FUNDED ENTIRELY BY DONATIONS! 

How Monica does what she does each and every day, remains an enigma… She works…and is on call 24/7; She takes calls and cases from all over the United States.  She takes no salary… and I don’t think her husband is a relative of the Bill Gates clan! Monica also offers youth mentoring and college internships.   It appears she seldom sleeps, probably doesn’t eat much and values her smoke breaks when she can fit them in….. Interviews have revealed a “diamond in the rough”…. with some salty language “to get the point across”.  However, when she speaks of the plight of specific victims, there is no one more compassionate or caring… http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/

Melissa Cann

Melissa “Missy” Cann carries on valiantly….. contending with multiple life tragedies…   She is the sister of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, one of many victims of the so-called “Long Island Serial Killer.”  Melissa is her voice and the champion of all women who have been lost under similar circumstances.    She is a mother, wife, sister, supportive friend and volunteer.  But, who could have known that she would literally and figuratively walk the path where the Long Island Serial Killer stalked and ultimately killed his victims?   She could not have known… nor was she prepared for this journey!

However, Missy has willingly taken a “crash course” in crime victimization like no other…  Her mission is to raise reward money for other victims and their families…     But more importantly, she seeks accuracy, and respect from the media and the general public when speaking about these victims! 

Addie Carone:

Addie Carone has suffered the slings and arrows of daily living…. However, she has faced much than the average person, still living life on its own terms, dealing with insurmountable losses and facing them head on in her own determined way…

She is a New England Yankee, a Connecticut resident, an octogenarian, with a strong constitution, whose will and fortitude defies the trouble that has stayed on her doorstep for 25 years, in one form or another…..  And it is only in the recent past, that she has been able to sweep most of it away…..    Remnants remaining, as the murderer and longtime fugitive, Adam Zachs shows his true colors- feeling a sense of entitlement and lack of responsibility for taking a precious life.  What’s a woman to do? LIVE YOUR LIFE IN SPITE OF….  But never forgetting….

Addie’s twin son Peter was murdered in March 1987, with the perpetrator released on bond…setting in motion a virtual lifetime of not knowing, a fugitive status, which took on international proportions. She lives her life with a sense od grace and “new normalcy” and she does “what one has to do.”

Daniel Hernandez, Jr.

A former Upward Bound Student and political intern to former Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford’s, who survived and continues miraculous recovery following the mass murders in Arizona. 

‘Just five short days earlier he had begun his assignment to assist Gabby.This junior at the University of Arizona acted quickly and remained collected under a barrage of bullets!  Why is this feat so remarkable?   

He acted without hesitation. He used triage methods commonly enforced in emergency situations to quickly assess who needed help most. Using his hand, he applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead, pulling her into his lap and holding her upright so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. He used a clean smock from Safeway’s meat department on the entrance wound, unaware that there was an exit wound.  He never left her during the ordeal…

Daniel waited at the hospital while she was undergoing surgery.  He reportedly heard on National Public Radio and comments from others that Gabby had died.  Later, he learned she was alive in body and in spirit…

Arizona State Representative, Matt Heinz, who is also a physician, told the Arizona Republic newspaper, “The fact that Hernandez was nearby and was able to react quickly probably saved Gifford’s life.”

Daniel’s comments included: “Of course you’re afraid. You just have to stay calm and collected.  You do no good to anyone if you have a breakdown….  It was probably not a good idea to run toward the gunshots, but people needed help.”

Betty Houbion

As a former business and trade consultant with a master’s in business management, Betty Houbion worked miracles recently with the conservative South Carolina legislature…. She used her skills to organize the effort to end human trafficking. Over that time, she saw the effort grow from a core of “a very few people” a few years ago to about 50 who showed up for a Statehouse rally in January and from there to email contacts numbering in the thousands.

Betty put her business on the back burner…She had bigger priorities “for the greater good.”

She was a force to be reckoned with concerning the effort to pass the law dedicated to making a difference and a dent in human trafficking in South Carolina. She and fellow advocates with the assistance of Rep. Nelson Hardwick proposed the law in 2009. Since then, Betty has worked on the effort every day.

It took more than three years of pushing legislators, sending emails, holding rallies and doing everything they could to raise awareness of the repugnant activity. It’s been a hard row to hoe, but the volunteers have been tireless in their efforts. Concerned citizens can make a real difference if they have the will and determination to see their efforts through!

On Monday,  June 18, 2012, the Governor of South Carolina signed the law cracking down on human trafficking, a crime that has already taken place across the state in recent years and to which  the Myrtle Beach area is especially vulnerable, with its high transient and visitor population.

The new law seeks to better support victims of trafficking with counseling and financial aid, and it increases penalties for those convicted of the loathsome act. Among the most important provisions are the addition of asset forfeiture to the consequences for trafficking – forcing traffickers to pay for the crime-fighting efforts that will catch the next trafficker – and the creation of a state trafficking task force, charged with both coordinating the state effort between law enforcement, government and nonprofits, and with creating public awareness campaigns to raise the profile of the issue!  Good show, Betty!

Delilah Jones

Delilah is the President of ImaginePublicity.com, administrator of the Time’s Up blogblogspot .com and Conqueringcancer.me. She is a master publicist, social media advisor and website designer to name a few skills…

However, she is so much more than this… She has shown her true colors for years, as a dedicated friend to all of us…but most especially to Susan Murphy Milano in this acute time of need as she battles stage four cancer.  A supporter, caregiver, cajoler, writer, researcher, hand holder, messenger, and always the positive thinker and ever compassionate person and “mother hen” when she needs to be…   Delilah we love and respect you for who you are…for Susan and for everyone for whom you “go the extra mile.”


Joy Huber:

Joy Huber is a stage four young adult cancer survivor and the Author & Founder of “Cancer with Joy.” She is an award-winning international presenter, individual coach, and songwriter. Joy helps the newly diagnosed and those on their support team (caregivers, spouses, family, friends, etc.) learn how to transform fear into happiness with resources, support, and en‘courage’ment.

Joy wrote “Cancer with Joy:  How to Transform Fear into Happiness and Find the Bright Side Effects” to be the essential resource for the newly diagnosed and those currently in treatment providing helpful and highly valuable information that saves precious time, energy, and money. Joy is an inspiration, and her humor and positive energy ignites others to transform their experience with cancer from negative to “Cancer with Joy.”

Joy’s clients have included hospitals, churches, large companies and small business, the government, non-profits, colleges, and associations. Her “Cancer with Joy” presentation is highly sought-after by cancer treatment centers, hospitals, support groups, and survivor rallies. “Cancer with Joy” the book was published by Morgan James Publishing of New York City. Joy’s co-written song, “Bright Side Effects,” is part of the book’s subtitle.  Watch the Music Video featuring pictures of the day Joy had her head shaved at http://www.cancerwithjoy.com/videos 

Janice Smolinski

Janice Smolinski’s quiet spoken and friendly demeanor defies the “tiger in her tank” that has sprung forth more times than she would like in the fight to locate her missing son, Billy.  Billy’s case and the effort to pass legislation bearing his name has taken up residence on the Peace4the Missing site as well as a customized website, Justice4Billy, since 2004.

This case is called the hot potato…not because they are “hot on the trail of finding Billy.”  It has this reputation in the morass of local, state and federal errors that have consumed this family’s life… but not weakened their resolve or determination in their quest to find answers!

“The good part” is that Jan climbed the legislative and Congressional Mount Everest to achieve State of Connecticut HB 6113 pertaining to the manner in which State police handle missing adults.  HB 6113 is as a major step toward protecting missing and endangered adults. The bill requires police departments to accept all reports filed of all missing persons age 18 and older without delay and to input all collected information into appropriate databases in efforts to locate them.

In a bipartisan effort, with the assistance of Congressmen Christopher Murphy (D -CT) and Ted Poe (R- Texas),the Help Find the Missing Act, “Billy’s Law”  was initially introduced to empower families and loved ones of the missing to find justice by helping to secure funding for the only federal database for missing persons and unidentified remains that can be cross-searched, accessed and added to by the public – the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).  This database enables the loved ones of the missing to search for a match and add valuable information to the case profile that only they know once it has been approved by the law enforcement agency handling their case.

The legislation helps to streamline the reporting process for law enforcement and medical examiners by connecting two major federal missing persons and unidentified remains databases- the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the NamUs.  Connecting these databases makes them more comprehensive and more likely to lead to a match between a missing person and unidentified human remains.

“Billy’s Law” also creates incentive grants programs to coroners, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to help facilitate the reporting of missing persons and unidentified remains to the federal databases. Grants can also be used for training programs on how to correctly use the databases and best handle these cases, and the recipients of these grants must provide a dollar in matching funds for every two dollars in federal funds.

Billy’s Law” builds upon Connecticut’s 2007 Law Enforcement and Missing Persons law as it also calls for the issuance of broad recommendations for standards and procedures for law enforcement to follow in dealing with missing persons and unidentified remains.

As it stands, it was about the money with “naysayer” former US  Congressman  Dr. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, saying that 10 million to be shared among 17,000 police departments was “too expensive” such that it was lowered to 8 million.   And now, with a new Congress, the bill must be re-introduced as HR 1300 and SR 702.

Co-sponsors are needed in nearly every state (except Connecticut)   The link below provides templates, sample letters, data and information with which to arm yourself.  Don’t take no for an answer… Be persistent!

BILLY’S LAW: Everything You Need to Know and DO to HELP PASS BILLY’S LAW

Unsung Heroes



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