Thursday, August 27, 2015

Behind every hero is a heroic Mom

We all know about the three young Americans who subdued a would-be terrorist armed with an assault rifle aboard a Netherlands-France bullet train last week, saving many lives. On Monday, the President of France awarded each man France's highest honor, the Legion of Merit. The mothers of the heroes were invited to attend the ceremony, but had no way to get there, until pilot Doug Perrill called his boss, Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, to ask if he'd let them use his private plane. Boyle immediately agreed. During the next 12 hours, Perrill and the State Department rapidly resolved passport issues.

                                                                                                                      AP Photo  Michel Euler, Pool
Boyle met the mothers at Portland International Airport last Sunday and visited with them briefly. He said they were all talking about the excitement they had for their sons. Then the Moms boarded his private, 12-seat, twin-jet Dassault Falcon 2000 and took off. Last minute flights through international air space are complicated, but the State Department coordinated everything. The jet touched down at Le Bourget Airport in Paris about 7:30 a.m. local time on Monday and the mothers were rushed to the Presidential Palace in time to hear President Francois Hollande tell their sons, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, that the whole world admires their courage and cool composure. The men have been friends since middle school, and their Moms are friends too, but they would have had watch the ceremony at home on TV without Tim Boyle's generosity. "We're fortunate to be in the position where we can help these families out," said Boyle, "and so that's what we did."

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