What it takes to make a real hero…


…not the actual hero, but the story about the hero.

Every year the Tri-Cities and Yakima chapters of the American Red Cross recognize heroes nominated by people throughout the community.

It’s different from the everyday, routine news story. Unlike the hard news story, in which we approach impartially, we admittedly and gladly go into this assignment with bias. We intend to show the hero in their best light, show and tell their story with gusto and true approbation.

That’s why I always look forward to telling the story of a real hero.

Not that it doesn’t come with challenges.

Most of the real hero recipients are reluctant at best at having the spotlight shone on them. Some are so humble it can be downright exasperating getting them to go on camera and share their story.

This year my hero came from the animal rescue category, Audrey Ulrich, who had died in a car crash. Her husband Matt would be accepting the award posthumously.

Probably the hardest part of my job–asking nosey questions to people dealing with devastating, personal heartache.

Fortunately for me, Matt was helpful, and with a good impression of Audrey, I left inspired to tell her story–to my dog.

That’s why you see most of the story in black and white. Dogs don’t see colors.

That’s another thing I like about the real hero assignment. You get a bit more artistic license.

Audrey Ulrich’s piece airs at six tonight. You can also watch it and all the Real Heroes’ stories online by clicking here. This will get you to the Real Heroes page on the NBC Right Now website. The animal rescue is the next to last one.

I hope it makes your tail wag.

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