America at Its Best: Kitch’s Operation, Quiet Heroes, Pt. 6.

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Digital Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright 2014
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

In our world of big names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be
Daniel J. Boorstin

What Is a Quiet Hero?

Six years ago, Secretary of the Navy Donald G. Winter, defined quiet heroism with these words:

20101117_winterdonald 300 It does not boast.

It does not seek the limelight.

It is carried silently, with dignity, and with quiet pride.

It is completely unlike the trappings of those who are often acclaimed as heroes on television and throughout our popular culture.

The Chicago journalist, Studs Terkel gave us this definition of a quiet hero:

Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better.

A blogger, Marci Fair gave us another insight into the heart of a quiet hero:

A quiet hero is not a myth, an icon or a legend – it is someone who is solid, genuine and real. The critical factor is not scale of heroism, but in fact that someone chose to “do the right thing, at the right time.”

During Kitch’s total knee replacement surgery, we were KLM SOS_3450privileged to meet several quiet heroes. The articles in this series were designed to express our gratitude to these people who, in our opinion, represent America at its best.

Today we want to thank two people we have never met. They are part of the heart and soul of Dr. Harry Schmaltz’s team. On several occasions they went out of their way to help Kitch resolve a number of problems she was having with the medications she was taking for pain.

Maryann is a nurse. She is a person with a caring heart and a willingness to help people. We do not know her last name, but we have a good idea about the beauty of her heart and the excellence of her service.

On several occasions she responded to our calls for help, and she never failed to respond in a timely way with good suggestions and encouragement.

Kitch and I are deeply grateful for her help.

Stephanie Bewick is the Practice Administrator at Scranton Orthopaedic Specialists. She has been doing this job for 23 years.

I met Stephanie on line three weeks before Kitch’s surgery. Since then, we have had a number of e-mail exchanges. Although we have never met, I think it is fair to say that Kitch and I have beenQuiet Heroes blessed by the beauty of her heart of gold.

Here are a few examples that will help our readers better understand the fundamental kindness of this quiet hero.

The notes she writes are always filled with affirmation and gratitude.

On the day of Kitch’s operation, she promised to stay in touch with members of Dr. Schmaltz’s team to monitor Kitch’s progress. She also told us it was a good omen that the operation was taking place on her 45th wedding anniversary.

Whenever she can help she does. She answered one of my notes from a location outside of a theater in New York City.

She defined one of the cardinal rules of her office when she wrote these words:

“…communication is the key–and we continually have to strive to be available to our patients to answer their questions and ensure the best possible outcome.”

Stephanie knows the territory. She has had both of her knees SOS_3460replaced by Dr. Schmaltz. When I told her that Judy Cutler was at our first in-home physical therapy session, this was her reaction:

A friend I’ve known for 30 years…and my home therapist when I had my knees done. She is a great motivator…compassionate but knows what she is there to do…follow her advice and she’ll lead Kitch far…

Our most recent exchange was about caregiving;. I told her I enjoyed being a caregiver, and she responded with words that perfectly define who she is:

I too like to be a caregiver. 32 years ago my husband was in a car accident after we were married for 7 years. It left him as a quadriplegic. We just celebrated our 45th anniversary…so I understand the meaning of caregiver. When it’s someone you love…It’s never work.

Mary Ann and Stephanie are quiet heroes. They are motivated by service not celebrity. They want to do the right thing for people who need help. They are living examples of the truth of Daniel Boorstin’s belief. True heroes do what they do without noise or notice, and that is what America is at its very best.

Thank You, Maryann.

Thank You, Stephanie.

Thank you Scranton Orthopaedic Specialists.

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