TIME Heroes

As Hope for Ferry Survivors Fades, Stories of Heroism Emerge

Tales of young crew members helping passengers escape the doomed Sewol ferry are emerging in the aftermath of its sinking off South Korea. At the same time, the official death toll from the disaster continues to climb and funerals are held for those victims whose bodies have already been recovered.

Praise has poured in for three crew members — Kim Ki-woong,Jeong Hyun-seon and Park Jee-young — who sacrificed their lives trying to help passengers to safety while the vessel ferry sank on April 17.

Park Ji-young, 22, a part-time ferry employee, reportedly helped passengers escape and tended to the injured. Survivors say she refused to abandon ship while there were passengers yet to be rescued.

Crew member Kim Ki-woong, 28, and his fiancée, Jeong Hyun-seon, 27, were said to be yelling to passengers to get out as the ship was sinking. “Then, the couple went back to the cabins to save other passengers. And they never came back,” one survivor told The Korea Times.

Over 31,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the three to be buried at the national cemetery and their families provided compensation for their deaths.

MONEY Money Heroes

Who’s Your Hero?

Who’s your hero? Derek Jeter doesn’t count. Let me ask the question another way: Who among the people you know do you most admire for what they’ve done for others?

That’s an easy pick for me: the Rev. Tom Hagan. Back at North Catholic High School in the 1970s, he pushed students like me to get involved in nearby rough-and-tumble Philadelphia neighborhoods. In 1997, by then a chaplain at Princeton, he left his post to devote himself full-time to Hands Together (handstogether.org), a nonprofit he founded to help residents of one of the roughest and tumblest places on earth, Cité Soleil in Haiti, build the infrastructure for a functioning society.

I thought about Father Tom recently, as MONEY started prepping for our third year of honoring unsung heroes who improve the financial lives of others. Now, our heroes won’t journey to faraway lands to tackle Herculean tasks; they have jobs and families and responsibilities to balance even as they help their neighbors, co-workers, and communities. But as Father Tom said to me via email, “All of us should think small. We need not go off to Haiti. We should simply resolve to make the first person we meet walk away feeling a little bit better. Then, move on to the next person.”

One hero from each state will be featured in our July issue, and we’ll continue online after that. And since these heroes are unsung, we need your help locating them. So if you know someone teaching financial skills, helping people cut red tape, or assisting on other money-related matters, tell us at heroes@moneymail.com. Or fill out the form at money.com/heroes, where you can also view an archive of the dozens of other heroes we’ve written about. And check our Facebook page and the Twitter hashtag #MoneyHeroes for more as we develop this year’s program.

Should our heroes inspire you to use your money smarts to help others, don’t be daunted by the scope of financial illiteracy or the headlines about scammers separating the unsuspecting from their cash. Remember Father Tom’s advice: “Think small.”

Craig Matters
Managing Editor


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TIME Oscars 2014

Why The Oscars Snubbed Batkid And How Spider-Man Saved The Day

Sony and Screen Gems Panels - Comic-Con International 2013
Albert L. Ortega—Getty Images Andrew Garfield attends The Sony and Screen Gems Panelsl as part of Comic-Con International 2013 held at San Diego Convention Center on Friday July 19, 2012 in San Diego, California.

Andrew Garfield went with "Batkid" Miles Scott to Disneyland the day after they were snubbed at the Academy Awards

When the Academy bumped five-year-old Miles Scott, aka “Batkid,” from his appearance at the Oscars last week, his family was understandably disappointed.

Miles, who has leukemia, made headlines across the U.S. in November when the Make-A-Wish Foundation and hordes of volunteers transformed San Francisco into Gotham City for a day—complete with bad guys who needed to be conquered—so he could have the chance to be a superhero. Little Miles became an insta-celebrity so it seemed a natural fit to have him appear along with The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield at the Oscars, which this year had a “Heroes” theme. One problem: the segment never aired.

When news of the axed segment leaked, people were angry. And when gossip columns reported that the appearance was cut because Garfield stormed out of rehearsals after disapproving of the segment’s script, people were even angrier. But Variety reports that the decision had nothing to do with the actor at all. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released a statement on Thursday that explained, “Due to the nature of a live show, hard decisions sometimes must be made which require the Academy to cut segments due to the logistics of production.”

Further clarifying the situation, Garfield’s publicist released a statement to Vanity Fair that said when the Academy cancelled the segment, “Andrew and Miles were equally upset.” Yet there is a happy ending as the statement revealed that “the producers arranged for Miles and his family to visit Disneyland [the next day] and Andrew drove down to visit them and to bring Miles a personal gift.”

So instead of appearing in front of millions of strangers, Batkid got to spend the day with Spider-Man at Disneyland, which sounds like a far better deal anyway. Even cuter, however, is that Garfield and Miles actually held their own mini-Oscars ceremony in a hotel room, tuxes and all.

TIME viral

The SF Batkid Got Bumped from Appearing at the Academy Awards

The Academy has not yet explained why

Young Miles Scott, the 5-year-old leukemia patient who became “Batkid” late last year, was originally part of the program for this year’s Oscars ceremony, which had a vague heroes theme. But he got bumped, with little explanation given to the family.

The International Business Times reports that he was scheduled for a surprise appearance and attended rehearsal on Saturday, before his family was told on Sunday that his participation would no longer be required. “It is kind of a disappointment, but things happen,” his mother Natalie Scott told the Times. “I know that’s how TV goes and how Hollywood is. We’re just not used to that. We’re from a really small town.” The Academy has not responded to a request from TIME about why the segment was canceled.

Miles became a hero to the world after doing derring around San Francisco when the Make-A-Wish Foundation transformed the city into Gotham last November. Crowds of thousands rallied to cheer him on as Miles saved a woman tied up on the cable car tracks and chased down the Penguin, who seal-napped the Giants’ mascot. After rescuing Lou Seal and saving the city from certain destruction, the mayor awarded Miles a key to the city. The streets were awash in goodwill as the Make-A-Wish Foundation announced that Miles’ leukemia was in remission.

The day’s adventure quickly went viral, with President Obama even sending out a Vine thanking Miles for his heroics. His appearance at the Oscars, which has gotten ho-hum reviews, certainly would have been a highlight for the many viewers who had been moved by his story.

“We have regular interaction with celebrities, television productions, and other high-profile events and unfortunately we’ve learned that sometimes these type of things happen for a number of different reasons,” a Make-A-Wish official said about the segment being canceled. “Regardless, we shared in the family’s disappointment.”

Miles had been outfitted in a tiny tux for the occasion. Here’s hoping the family will still share a snapshot of Batkid in his Bruce-Wayne best.

TIME Food & Drink

Hero Eats Nothing But Pizza For 25 Years

And here you thought you liked pizza too much

There is a man out there who eats nothing but pizza. Truly nothing — nothing! — other than hot, cheesy, bready, saucey pizza.

Seriously, he’s real. His name is Dan Janssen, he’s 38, and for the past 25 years he has survived on pizza alone. He is a fully functional human, employed as a woodworker in Maryland, though he does have diabetes and occasionally blacks out when his blood sugar dips too low.

He sat down with his friend at VICE to discuss this extreme lifestyle choice in detail. He began with the basics:

I’ve been eating pizza exclusively every day of my life for the past 25 years, and I’m not just talking about a slice of pizza every day. I usually eat an entire 14″ pizza, and I only eat cheese pizza. I never get sick of it. If I go to one pizza shop or another brand, it’s like eating a completely different meal.

Janssen wasn’t always on the pizza-only diet, though. It all began when, as a teenager, he decided to become a vegetarian for ethical reasons. But he hated vegetables, so he just decided to start surviving on pizza alone. He says he knows he must sound “like a horribly unhealthy and fat person” but he says he’s in fact thin, has tons of energy and feels great every day.

But not all pizza is created equal to Janssen. He said the best he’s ever had was at a joint called Pontillo’s in upstate New York. But clearly, he’s not too picky. “Pizza is like sex,” he told VICE, “even when it’s bad, it’s good.”

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