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Thursday, April 16, 2009


Bruce Bickel played football at the U.S. Naval Academy where he succeeded Roger Staubach as Navy’s quarterback. He often tells this story that occurred during his time spent fighting in Vietnam. After some nine thousand civilians were slaughtered by the enemy at Hue, American forces recaptured the city and set up orphanages. One of these orphanages was shelled by the Vietcong, and an eight-year-old boy was severely wounded. Bruce rushed the boy by Jeep to a medical center, where the doctors determined that he needed a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, there was no one at the medical center who had the right type of blood, not even Bruce himself. So Bruce jumped in the Jeep and raced back to the orphanage. Running inside, he explained to the children that the injured child needed a transfusion and asked for a volunteer to donate blood.
Nine-year-old Hai raised his hand, “Me,” he said, “I give for my friend.”

“Good boy!” Bruce said, ushering the boy back out to the Jeep. Together, they raced over the bumpy, rutted road to the medical center. The doctors put the boy on a gurney and began extracting blood. Hai began to cry.

“Does it hurt?” Bruce asked.

The boy shook his head no.

“Are you scared?”

Hai nodded — then he asked, “Sir, how long will it take me to die?”

This little boy didn’t understand blood transfusions. He thought he was giving all of his blood so that his friend could live. It made him scared, it made him cry — but he was willing to do this for his friend. He reached the heights and plumbed the depths of his unselfishness.

From “The Magic Of Team” by Pat Williams