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There’s a new hero every second in the United States — just ask New York and New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy.

living in gratitude©

living in gratitude©

Safe and dry and warm on the West Coast, I’ve been watching news coverage of extraordinary public service — firefighters, police, paramedics, the U.S. National Guard and more — on the East Coast. I’m saying thanks for every rescuer, especially those who traveled from afar to help fellow Americans in dire straits.

It’s distressing to learn of so many who died. It’s distressing to learn of the injuries and losses in any natural disaster, but in this one, the magnitude is greater. Our sorrow for trauma-scarred New York is more keen.

I’m grateful for every Red Cross worker and all the staff from non-profits who are showing us every day on the East Coast that there are unsung heroes doing community service for little pay or thanks or recognition, every day. They’re unsung heroes, in every state.

We’ve heard from all of our friends and relatives in the region, and, thank God, they’re OK. No power in these cold, wet days maybe, but they’re warm and comfortable, thanks to the help of so many neighbors and relatives who have taken them in.

Neighbors helping neighbors. In the United States, a country often derided for its pursuit of self-interest, for its callousness toward the vulnerable.

We’re hearing extraordinary stories about extraordinary selflessness and courage. None has touched my heart more this week than that of the evacuation of hospital patients, especially the moms-to-be, new mothers and babies at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Heard about that from Jon Stewart last night. It’s a remarkable story — newborn babies being carried down multiple flights of stairs, by nurses hand-pumping respirators as they descended, one precious squeeze of oxygen at a time.

I get shivers just thinking of the courage and compassion that took, when their own families and their own homes might have been in trouble at the same moment.

God bless the nurses at NYU Langone, the paramedics and all the others who carried those women and those newborns to safety, then raced them to other hospitals.

There is a new hero every second in the United States. We just don’t know their names. God bless each one who has helped, who continues to help, the survivors of Superstorm Sandy.