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Monday, March 18, 2013

Apparently Heroes Fail

My friend, Steve Peifer, is my hero.  He was also CNN's hero of the year in 2007  for feeding children in Kenya.  He and Nancy lost a child that was only a few days old, and their lives changed forever from a prosperous job with Oracle to getting lost in Africa.  There they found their souls again.

Officially, Steve serves as a high school guidance counselor at Rift Valley Academy.  Unofficially, he initiated a feeding program that once fed 23,000 children one meal a day...children who couldn't stand up by Thursday because they hadn't eaten since Monday.  He also introduced computers to schools that don't have electricity.  His computer centers are powered by the sun.  One child heard about her opportunity to learn about computers, and she said, "I never had a dream so big."

I had coffee with Steve in 2011 after a few years of downturn in the world economy.  Donations from the USA had fallen to the point that Steve was able only to feed 13,000 children in Kenya the previous year.  What do you say to a hero who has tears in his eyes and tells you, "I feel like such a failure."  If he's a failure, then what am I?

Steve's book comes out tomorrow/today.  Be forwarned.  Steve is a nut!  Here is an excerpt from an email I got today. 
We had pizza the other night, and I got to slice one of them. I was rather rudely mocked by my children because my slices weren't equal in size. On another day, we were invited to a friend's home for pizza. Jim was a commander of a nuclear sub; now he is helping to expand the mission hospital. As I looked at his unequal pieces, it occurred to me that I could have been a commander of a nuclear sub.

Want another grab-your-heart story?  Check out his book.  Steve promised his African-adopted daughter that she could have a pony if the book became a #1 Best Seller.  I'd like to bet on that horse!

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