Everyday heroes

Local fire chief pays special visit to Notre Dame second graders after he gets called out as a hero.

When Donna Stuk, a second grade teacher at Notre Dame Lower School, asked her students recently to write about who their heroes are, she didn't expect one of them would actually visit her classroom. 

But one did this week.

"During our most recent unit of study about communities, I gave the second graders a homework assignment asking them to choose a hero in their community to write about," Stuk said. "They had to say who the hero was, what makes them a hero and why they chose him or her as their hero."

One of her students, Isaac Gumma, who is a new to the school this year, chose a neighbor who just happened to be the fire chief for his hometown. 

"Isaac picked Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin to write about," Stuk said. "And when the Gumma family shared Isaac's letter with the chief, he was deeply moved by second grader's touching tribute."

In response, Stuk said, Martin wanted to visit the school because he felt it was important to meet the students and share his own heroes with them. 

"During his visit with us on Tuesday, he read a letter to Isaac in front of the class about who his heroes were," she said. "It really was a special moment. Then the second graders asked him many questions, learned a lot about fire safety and also how to be a hero in their own communities."

Martin told the kids he has many heroes, including all of the men and woman who serve their country or community as a first responder or a member of the military. But he told them he had many other heroes.  
"My list of heroes includes any kid who isn't mean to other kids and refuses to take part in bullying or allow others to," he said. "Any kid who refuses to try smoking, vaping or any type of alcohol or drugs is also on my list of heroes. In short, my list of heroes includes anyone who makes the right decisions, even when other people are not looking."

He also told them heroes come in many forms. 

"Those who are there for others in times of need and can be counted on to always do the right thing," he said, "may not live their lives wearing a cape or a colorful outfit, and their superhero powers may not include being able to fly or lift up tons of weight. But I assure you that they will always be true heroes me and to those around them."

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three school are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org