Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

OUR VIEW: Nicolas Checque and Dr. Joseph, American heroes

ed Updated: December 12, 2012 at 12:00 am

The hearts of Coloradans go out to the family, friends and loved ones of Nicolas D. Checque, the brave and selfless Navy SEAL who decided at an early age to give his life for the benefit of society.

On Saturday, at the age of 28, Checque was killed while helping to rescue one of our own — the selfless and courageous Dr. Dilip Joseph, of Colorado Springs.

Much like Checque, Joseph was overseas to put the interests of less fortunate and often less capable individuals ahead of his own. He had the option of a safe, peaceful and prosperous life practicing medicine exclusively here in the Springs, but chose to travel into war zones to provide care as part of the international aid group Morning Star.

Dr. Joseph and two non-American Morning Star staffers were returning from a rural medical clinic in eastern Kabul province Nov. 5 when armed men kidnapped them.

The other two were released on unknown terms, but CNN reports that Joseph was in imminent danger when Checque and other members of SEAL Team Six rescued him.

An infinitessimal percentage of American warriors are strong enough, smart enough and giving enough to become members of a special forces organization so prestigious as SEAL Team Six. When our country loses a man the caliber of Checque, we lose the kind of hero who makes our  country a force of goodness in the world.

“He always knew he wanted to go into the military,” said former classmate Stefanie Stewart, in an interview with CNN. Stewart told the network she sat next to Checque on the school bus almost every day.

“He was a very driven individual, had a very keen sense of mind. A strong-minded person. But underneath that, you could tell he had a good heart.”

That’s not the least bit surprising. Movies and TV often portray American warriors as super-human machine-like people who kill because it’s their passion and their job.

In real life, most of the men and women in our armed forces are motivated by the same characteristics that leads volunteers to quietly care for orphans and AIDS patients. They are people who want to improve their world for future generations.

As a military town, the people of Colorado Springs know the pain that is caused by war. Thank you, Nicolas Checque, for saving a member of our community. We thank and pray for those who loved you and knew you well.

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