Brian Mittge Commentary: Recognizing More Everyday Heroes Without Capes


How about some good news as we continue to climb out of the darkest time of the year?

We’ll start with the story of a crossing guard in Maryland.

Cpl. Annette Goodyear was working her regular shift at North East Middle School on Feb. 4. She gave the OK for a student to cross after telling an oncoming car to stop, but the car kept going and plowed into the intersection.

Goodyear, wearing a bright orange rain smock, saw the car coming out of the corner of her eye. In that split-second, Goodyear put the girl’s life first, pushing her out of the way as the front right corner of the sedan smashed into her before the car came to a stop.

“When I hit the ground, my first instinct was to find Violet, so I lifted my head up and looked around and I saw her standing there. At that point I knew I was, like, ‘OK, now I need to make sure I’m OK,’” she said.

The middle-schooler was unharmed. Goodyear was taken to the hospital for examination but escaped major injury. Sore but still dedicated, she was soon back at the job. The driver of the car received numerous traffic violations, including negligent driving.

In a ceremony of thanks a few days later, the girl she saved unveiled a banner that read, “Real heroes don’t wear capes.”

Goodyear, the mother of three sons, attributed her actions to her training and being a parent.

“This is a kid, and I’m an adult. No matter what happens, you got to protect that child and make sure that child is safe,” she said. “That was the only thing that was going through my mind. If I have to take the brunt of it, that’s what’s going to happen.”


Bootleg Beststeller

Now to Idaho, where a second-grader has become his town’s most popular author. Dillon Helbig, age 8, had written and illustrated a Christmas story on notebook paper.

He wanted to share it with others and hatched a plan. He visited his local library with his grandmother, clutching his 81-page book close to his chest. When no one was looking, he slipped his masterpiece onto a children’s picture-book shelf.

His book was titled “The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis,” and was signed “by Dillon His Self.”

Librarians soon found his book, which is about his adventures putting an exploding star on his Christmas tree, then being catapulted back to the first Thanksgiving and the North Pole.

“Dillon is a confident guy and a generous guy. He wanted to share the story,” said library branch manager Alex Hartman. “I don’t think it’s a self-promotion thing. He just genuinely wanted other people to be able to enjoy his story … He’s been a lifelong library user, so he knows how books are shared.”

With the author’s permission, the library tacked a barcode onto the book and added it to the collection. It has dozens of reservations. They’re looking to publish an e-edition so it can be more widely enjoyed.

The library also gave Dillon its first-ever award for Best Young Novelist, a category the library created for him and named after the library’s owl mascot.

Dillon is working on a sequel featuring his dog, Rusty, as well as the Grinch.

He’s also working on a different book about a closet that eats jackets.

Word has gotten around at his school, prompting some of his classmates to take up writing.

“It’s pretty neat to see how he’s inspiring little minds,” said his mother, Susan Helbig.


Dad Joke of the Week

The joke below comes courtesy of my own children. (Like a happy lion father, these kids are my pride and joy.)


Q: What does a furry animal have to drink?

A: A beaver-age!


Brian Mittge’s columns appear in The Chronicle each Saturday. Send him good news and rad dad jokes at