John Shear has beaten the odds. After his heroic actions in Santa Anita two weeks ago, where he saved the life of a 5 year old girl, and nearly lost his own life..........HE IS ON THE MEND! He is in Physical Therapy at Huntington Memorial Hospital, and he will likely be coming home in a few more weeks. He plans to be back to work at Santa Anita in October for the fall meet, after he finally gets to go on his trip to Vegas he had planned the day after the accident. Thanks to everyone in Sierra Madre who has sent cards, calls, visits to John and most of all your prayers!
The impact of John's heroic actions in saving a small child's life cannot be overstated. If you were to go to Google and type in the words "John Shear" and "Santa Anita," you would be able to read over 600 stories written about what happened that day. Presidents don't get this kind of coverage. That anyone would make such a sacrifice is remarkable, that it was done by a 90 year old man stunned the world. He has become the latest ambassador of an extraordinary generation, one that willingly makes the sorts of sacrifices so few do these days.
And that he is now well on his way to recovery and will return to his job later this year is yet another chapter in the life of an uncommon man. I am not sure there are many reading this today that will ever come close to equaling the achievements of John's life. And there are more to come.
My favorite article by far on what happened that day was written by LA Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke and published March 22nd. I'm going to quote a few passages here. It really puts everything into a proper perspective.
Math 'heroism' fades, but John Shear is a hero for all time: Shear is the 90-year-old Santa Anita worker who earlier this month stepped in front of a runaway horse to save a 6-year-old girl's life and could remain hospitalized for months. If we can tear ourselves away from the NCAA tournament on TV, let's salute him.
Our television screens are filled this month with the breathtaking exploits of young men in short pants and tattoos, and for their dramatic efforts we call them heroes, and, really, we have no idea.
You want March Madness? How about an old man saving the life of a little girl by throwing himself in front of a frightened horse?
You want one shining moment? It happened a couple of weeks ago, when longtime Santa Anita paddock guard John Shear, 90, tossed a 6-year-old girl out of the path of a runaway horse just in time to be trampled.
Cinderella story? That would be when Shear walks again, which could be in a couple of months, as he is lying today in a hospital with multiple pelvic fractures, a fractured cheekbone, and gashes above his left eye and down his left arm.
"Could have been worse," Shear said, wincing beneath an oxygen tube during a Tuesday visit. "Something could have happened to the little girl."
We interrupt the annual frenzy over the NCAA basketball tournament to write about a real buzzer beater. Nobody was cheering, the video has been locked up, and the only visible reward is a mug of flowers sitting next to a thin bed in a sterile room filled with pain and worry. But when a 5-foot, 110-pound giant of an athlete makes a play that saves a life, somebody should holler about it.
"I've already lived most of my life, the little girl has her entire life in front of her," Shear said. "There's no question I would do it again."
Time to start organizing the welcome home party!
Bonus Coverage - We just broke the hits (or in Google speak "page views") record The Tattler set in January. The final number for March will be posted later today, but it is well over 30,000. Certainly not Yahoo level numbers, but a passing fair performance for a local news blog in a town of under 11,000 people. Readership of The Tattler continues to grow. More proof that if you tell people what is really going on in this town, you will find readers.
More Bonus Coverage - The Tattler gets a significant mention in Frank Girardot's column in today's Pasadena Star News. Topic is the U.S. Constitution and the 14th Amendment.