One of my heroes is Henri Landwirth. As a boy, he was taken to a Nazi concentration camp, where he spent most of his teenage years. He was released by a sympathetic soldier at the end of the war. He found his sister, and they came to America together. Henri worked at a hotel, starting from the bottom up. He eventually came to manage his own hotel in Orlando, FL.
Because of the hotel's location, Henri often got requests to put up families with terminally ill children, which he always did gladly. Then, one day, he got a call from a family canceling their reservation. Their daughter's only wish had been to see Mickey Mouse, but because of paperwork and arrangements, she had died before she could realize her dream. Henri was appalled and made up his mind to change the system.
Today, Henri's dream has been realized by the Give Kids the World Village, which celebrated its 25th year this year. The Village can bring a sick child to Orlando in as little as 24 hours if needed! So far, children have come from all 50 United States and 70 countries worldwide. Henri believes that these children deserve the childhood he couldn't have. He is still an active member of the Village, and he also travels the country and gives talks about his experiences growing up and the value of forgiveness.
While I, nor anyone I know, have stayed at Give Kids the World, I still feel the impact of what Henri has done. He stood up for his beliefs and gave all he could to change the world. If everyone could perform just one compassionate act each day, we could all change the world, too.
"You have got to give of yourself– not money but the essence of yourself. That is what makes life meaningful" ~ Henri Landwirth
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories