Move Over Avengers: The Rise of a New Hero League

Still hung over Infinity War? Well let’s do a quick visualization exercise. Imagine some of the biggest names in superhero world – Superman, Spider Man, Iron Man, The Flash, Doctor Strange, Thor.

Aside from their all-too- familiar-hands- on-waist- stance, what did you picture? A burning backdrop? The open blue sky? Perhaps their striking red armors and tights?

Color theory suggests that red is the color of power, no doubt fit for a warrior. It is the color of fire and blood – of passion and life. But today is not about the rest of the mainstream heroes and their conspicuous red capes. Today is about ordinary people joining forces to create a real-life hero league – the Red Cross.

Because today is World Red Cross Day, we will give it the limelight by getting to know three of its home-grown heroes.

Hero #1

Name: V
Not as in Voltes V, so please don’t start singing ‘Tatoe arashi ga tutou tomo’. This is the story of Vhyrell Alacar – Vy for short, V for shortest.

Besides, he’d rather be Captain America – his idol on leadership, compassion and courage. But let me tell you more about V and you judge if he can be a match for Capt. A.

And if we’re keeping a scoreboard, let’s start with 1-0 in favor of V. One point for being real.

Hero Since: 2009
Influenced by his brother, V started volunteering right after he graduated high school.

Super Power: Time Travel
V is a volunteer instructor under the Disaster Management Services. He teaches schools and communities of ways to reduce and manage the risks of natural calamities and other tragedies.

Making use of the present to help people arrive more safely into the future. He doesn’t have the power to stop disasters from happening. He can only prepare people to overcome them, which is actually way better.

V, second from the right

Hero Moment: Triumphing against the forces of nature
Heroes need conflicts and trials, if only to show that they can survive. Because (spoiler alert!) they always do.

For V, a challenge came by the name ‘Lando’ – the typhoon that hit Pangasinan on October 2015. To assess the situation and assist in evacuation, he and other volunteers were deployed to their respective areas. That is amidst heavy rains and flood, strong winds, the dark of night, and the danger of big trees collapsing on them.

And as predictable as this plot can be, they prevailed against the test of nature. The greatest deed though is them responding to the calls of a thousand people in distress.

But this feat is achieved not without a little help. As they were returning to their base, they were stopped by trees blocking the road. This was the same route they took the night before. They were both amazed and grateful for the safe journey. True enough, we are strong only because there is Someone stronger who always has our backs.

Hero #2

Name: Sir Dax
Just as Clark Kent is to Superman and Peter Parker is to Spiderman, Dexter Martije Descotido is simply Sir Dax without his Red Cross cape. A licensed professional teacher from Mati, Davao Oriental.

Hero Since: 2006
As a high school freshman, Sir Dax entered the portal to hero world when he joined the Red Cross Youth orientation. Back then, their facilitator’s dictum was to ‘expect the unexpected’.

He soon found that Red Cross does not fall short in delivering its promise of adventure. So he stayed and grew with organization – 12 years as a volunteer to date and counting.

Super Power: Mind control
Not in a manipulative sense but in a constructive one. Sir Dax is currently an instructor for Red Cross Youth activities. He teaches basic life support and disaster risk management. A staff in the local chapter and the focal person in Red Cross Youth and Disaster Management Service.

His exposure to youth – both as a teacher and as a volunteer gives him greater venue to exercise his powers. See, he is more than an instructor, he is an influencer. Someone who can lead the youth as they transition to adulthood. Someone who has the ability to shape their perspectives and ideas of the world.

Sounds like a great responsibility? Well it comes with great power, right?

Sir Dax

Hero Moment: Surviving a war.
As part of the National Disaster Response Team, Sir Dax served as a logistics officer during the Marawi Seige on July 2017. He was involved in management of relief and other needs to ensure the smooth flow of the operations. He considers this as a milestone in his volunteering journey. “That was my greatest and [most] fulfilling experience in serving under [the name of] Red
Cross”, he says.

Hero #3

Name: Perci
Aaand nope, he isn’t slaying the Kraken, he is doing something more amazing than that. He is helping save mortal lives.

Hero Since: 2016
Like his demigod namesake, Arnold Perci Juruena or Perci, the hospitality management student, is also a teenager on some serious mission.

Growing up in the city, he saw the effect of calamities when he transferred to the province in 2016. He knew then, he had to do something, so he did. He contacted the Philippine Red Cross via Facebook and signed up as a volunteer.

Super Power: Healing.
Maybe not with a touch of his hand and not in the blink of an eye but he can do help heal people using his powerful weapon – his first aid kit.

“Lagi po akong may dalang personal first aid kit kahit saan ako pumunta. Kahit ‘di po ako naka-duty at naka-uniform, basta may nakita akong aksidente tinutulungan ko.

Naalala ko dati, naka-chefs uniform pa ako dahil katatapos lang [ng] laboratory namin. May na-encounter akong motorcycle [accident]…. Tinulungan ko pa din habang yung mga tao nagtataka dahil di naman ako nurse or nursing student.”

Perci, third from the left

Hero Moment: Can’t hide under an alter ego
Heroes doesn’t stop being heroes when they aren’t fighting the villain or winning the battle. And hero moments doesn’t last only during the war. It lasts for as long as there are people who remembers and appreciates what heroes do, no matter how small. A little ‘thank you’ goes a long way.

Here is what Perci has to say:

“… di ko makakalimutan yung naka-civilian lang ako tapos ‘di tinaggap ng driver yung bayad ko. Tinanong ako kung taga Red Cross ako, sabay sabi na ‘Anak ko yung tinulungan ninyo, salamat po.’ Nakakataba ng puso na may nakakaappreciate sayo.”

V, Sir Dax and Perci are living, breathing proof that a new generation of heroes is on the rise. Their battlefield is the real world – the streets, the local communities, and their neighborhood.

The thing is, their adventures cannot be contained in a big screen. You cannot always watch them but you can always join them. Now, would you?

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