Why Do We Celebrate Food Safety Heroes?

It's Not for Them -- It's for Us

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others
 at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe
Rylee Mike Award

Doesn’t that beautiful quote ring so true?

When we think about true heroes in our lives—those in the world of food safety or otherwise—the people who impress us and touch us the most are the ones quietly and steadily moving their causes forward each day.

These folks have suffered. They’ve shed tears. They’ve sacrificed. They’ve seen loved ones slip away. And for many in our food safety community, they’ve been drug down to the depths of unspeakable, gut-wrenching physical and emotional pain.

But, despite their pain, these inspirational human beings have found the strength somewhere inside to rise up and make sure their suffering isn’t in vain.

And what they desire most isn’t fanfare, fancy plaques, or parties.

It’s not articles written up in blogs or papers.

Their truest, deepest desire is simple:

Food safety heroes want to do everything they can to prevent foodborne illness from befalling others.

They don’t need or want recognition and celebration.

But we need to celebrate them.

You and I want to know they’re there and what they’re up to. You and I need to know we’re not alone in this fight against foodborne illness. You and I need to know there are beacons of light helping to guide us to a better path.

At Stop Foodborne Illness, we’ve been blessed to lock arms with a bevy of beloved food safety heroes. These gentle yet mighty warriors have reached deep into our hearts, stirred our souls, and motivated us to think different, shake up the status quo, and wage the worthy battle of preventing foodborne disease.

They’re people like Jorge Hernandez. Jorge, inspired by his grandmother, first thought medicine would be his career choice. But he then became inspired to focus his work on preventing people from getting sick in the first place. A strong passion for food safety then propelled him to an incredibly fulfilling role as Chief Food Safety Officer at Wholesome International, an importer of high quality food products.

They’re people like Dana Dziadul, who knows what it’s like to come close to death and live her days with debilitating arthritis due to eating cantaloupe contaminated with Salmonella as a three-year-old. Now, as a soon to be college student, Dana is one of our most active advocates. She loves encouraging others to commit to proper food safety practices, contribute to our cause, and connect with people who’ve suffered from a foodborne illness. And Dana has written a wonderful children’s book titled, Food Safety Superstar.

They’re people like Dan Sutton. As General Manager of the Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange—and as a passionate family man—Dan cares to his core about preventing foodborne illness and taking every action possible to that end.

All of these heroes (and countless others we could name!) inspire us to be fearless in driving food safety progress forward. Whether it’s  volunteering at an event, making a donation, advocating on Capitol Hill, or reaching out to a fellow survivor, I often hear our supporters tell me they were moved to help because someone like Richelle, Amanda, Jorge, Dana, or Dan had a chat with them or inspired them during a talk. And this ALWAYS makes me smile. J

For their vision, tenacity, inspiration, and caring heart, Stop Foodborne Illness throws out the biggest hug possible to ALL of our food safety heroes.

Now, Over To You …

I’d love to know:

Who is your biggest food safety hero and why? What did this person motivate you to do that you weren’t doing before?

Please email me at srutledge@stopfoodborneillness.org or call me at 773-269-6555 x7 to share your thoughts. I’m gathering responses to share throughout the year!

Send me your thoughts by February 19, 2021 and you’ll be entered to WIN a nifty little box of goodies from STOP.

Remember, that which you're inspired to do may be just the thing that inspires someone else.