Mission Accomplished!

Don’t you just love a happy ending?

The story of the McMutrie sisters of Ben Avon and the 53 orphans that came home Tuesday is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring stories that we have seen in this region in  a while. But its more than the tale of two brave sisters and 53 orphans. It’s the story of how people: from government leaders to everyday people worked together towards a single goal … and getting the job done.

I first learned of the entire situation from a good friend of mine named Diane Rua. She told me about the grassroots efforts on behalf of the McMutrie family to rescue Jamie, Ali and the kids. There were people trying to get a plane and others trying to find facilities to house the orphans if they could get them to Pittsburgh. But the majority of this grassroots effort was people calling thier congressman and their elected officials. Keeping the heat on the people in power … and it was that effort started the wheels in motion which led to the dramatic rescue which was completed on Tuesday.

The McMutrie sisters and the orphans. Now they are in Pittsburgh thanks to a truly grassroots effort.

Last week, I had a chance to interview the sister-in-law of the women as well as the husband of Jamie McMutrie. They shared with me the story of struggling to make contact  the girls, their plight in Haiti and the lack of time to make something happen. They showed me pictures and shared the stories of these two girls and why they believed being in Haiti was the best thing for not only them, but also the orphans. They relayed stories of late night phone calls with various elected officials pleading for action. That led to the involvement of literally dozens of people in positions of authority, all working together with one single purpose.

In the hours since the flight arrived with the children, I have read the family’s Facebook page and have gotten some comments on my page. There is true joy and happiness in the area as well as a great sense of pride in Pittsburgh. It’s easy to understand because this was mostly a Pittsburgh operation: from the residents rallying to the hospitals offering their services to involvement of congressman Jason Altmire.  However, this is more than a Pittsburgh story. I would like to think this could happen any in America given the circumstances and the people who went all out to make this miracle happen would have done it whether they live in Pittsburgh or not.

Yet, there is something about this region that seems to make this Hollywood script of a drama more believable. You can imagine your neighbors giving what they can for someone they don’t know. You can see major local  hospitals asking what can we do for the common good. You can see those in political power forgetting party affiliation and doing some as one for the common good.

As for that “Hollywood script”,  I’m sure we will see on the big screen on the small tube sometime in the future. After all, a movie was made about the rescue of the Quecreek 9. When you think about it, in many ways, the stories are very much the same: facing difficult odds, a small group hunkered down while an entire community came together to rescue them.

If there is one thing I do hope happens, on a personal note, is that the spirit of wanting to help these orphans will spill over into the 1800 foster children we have right here at home. They need families and homes and while they may have not been in an earthquake, many have been through their own ordeals and are looking for love just like those children from Haiti.

Yes, I love happy endings.

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