The world is full of determined, strong willed humans who regularly break the wrongly perceived barriers for a mortal. While their stories and legacies remain unbeatable, it is in fact nothing but a simple remainder about what we are capable of.
The following individuals may enthrall and stump us but we fail to understand that such seeds to extraordinary courage and perseverance is within us all and only requires nurturing.
10. Hideaki Akaiwa
On Friday the 11th of March, 2011 Hideaki Akaiwa was in the middle of a busy work day when a devastating earthquake measuring 8.9 magnitudes in the Richter scale struck his hometown triggering a massive tsunami.
He rushed to his neighborhood to find it submerged in 10 feet of water and his wife unaccounted for among the survived. Without as much as a flinch Akaiwa remembers his wedding vows two decades ago, procures a wet suit dives head first into the submerged city of Ishinomaki teeming with dangerous wreckage.
He rescues his wife, reaching her just as she just had moments left. He dives again to rescue his dear mother and then rescues his neighbors and then again and again until the government and international organizations took it up from then on. (Source; forbes.com)
See Also; 10 Strange People with Bizarre History.
9. Robert de la Rouchefoucald
A 16 year old boy escaped a German occupied France in 1940 to join the resistance but was captured in the process. However he was rescued by the Britains and thus he began a life as a saboteur and general bad ass.
The British extensively trained a young Rouchefoucald and then dropped him into France where he scraped a meagre but satisfying existence of being a complete pain in the ass for Hitler and his Gestapo. This SOE agent of French nobility was captured twice and sentenced to death but managed to spring his traps gloriously.
He blew up electric sub-stations, Nazi controlled rail tracks and demolished an ammunition factory in France proving it very vital for the D-day.
8. White Death
Simo Hayha was Finland’s answer to the Soviet Union’s 160,000 strong army during the Winter Wars of 1939. Simo Hayha was an absolute killing machine with a rate of 7 enemy deaths per day over a period of 100 days making Hayha the most prolific sniper in the history of mankind and earning him the nickname ‘White Death.’
Each morning Hayha would adorn a white camouflage, pick his Mosin-Nagant rifle, lie submerged in the snow and killed any Russian who happened to slip into his cross hairs. He became so notorious in the Russian camps that they deployed a team of Russian snipers to end Simo Hayha’a killing spree. They understood what they were dealing with when their team of snipers returned back in body bags.
Simo Hayha’s exploits came to an end when a Russian bullet managaed to tear away one half of his face. He was rescued but lapsed into a coma. Hayha regained consciousness a day after the Winter War ended in favor of Finland.
See also; Top 10 Mysterious People on Earth.
7. Nina Onilova
This Ukrainian girl with an innocent name can reduce Rambo to tears any day, any time. Onilova served as the Machine gunner crew commander for the Red Army which then were fighting against the Germans in the World War II.
She left behind her job as a seamstress and joined the army and was by far the smoothest career moves in history. Her courage boosted the entire morale of the Soviet army. She was critically injured in September 1941 but returned once more into the battle field to destroy an enemy tank with two Molotov cocktails.
Nina died after injuring herself in 1942. She was posthumously awarded the Soviet Union’s highest honor for bravery.
6. Kamla Devi
It was a fine sunny day in the state of Uttaranchal in Northern India and Kamla Devi was tending to her crops humming a Bollywood classic to make her yields more productive when a leopard appeared out of nowhere and attacked her.
Preparing herself for the battle of her life, she promised herself that this day is not her last day on earth. Kamla Devi claims fighting the leopard for more than half an hour until she managed to take the life out of the leopard with her farm tools.
A critically injured Devi dragged herself to the village where she was taken care off.
5. Herbert Nitsch
Herbert Nitsch is an Austrian diver, pilot and would be a suitable candidate to be Aquaman. He dived to a depth of 253 metres in 2012 and earned the title “the deepest man on earth.” In addition to his ventures that lack any sense of sanity, Nitsch is also capable of holding his breath for more than nine minutes and holds multiple world-records.
But the most famous case of Herbert Nitsch does not simply involve him breaking his physical limits to perform outrageous acts in diving. In 2012 he suffered a mishap while attempting to break his own record that he had set up in 2007. On his dive back to the surface after completing his record stunt Nitsch passed out due to nitrogen narcosis, the rescue team in standby pulled him up to the surface. Even after being rescued, Nitsch suffered decompression sickness and was in a coma for 7 days. After regaining consciousness he is informed by doctors that he will be wheel chair bound for the rest of his life caused due to his inability to perform the decompression procedure, a standard procedure done by divers after deep water diving.
Having heard enough Herbert Nitsch signed himself out of the hospital with an iron clad will. He promises himself that he will be back in the deep seas where he feels more at ease. What then followed was months of exercise, strict diet and slow recovery until Herbert Nitsch was back under water.
4. Harrison Okene
Harrison Okene was a crew member of Jascon 4, a tug boat that suffered a sinking a fate after being capsized by unruly waves.
The African ships sport a security procedure that seals all the doors of the ship during any emergency to protect them against pirate attacks and this ultimately led to the ironical deaths of all the crew members as they were trapped safely in their bunkers while the ship cruised to the bottom of the sea bed. All except Okene.
On that fateful morning Okene was using the bathroom when he found his world turned around his head. As the ship sank Okene overheard the cries of help from his crew but could do nothing about it. Struggling for his life as the ship slowly filled with water Okene managed to find a pocket of air where he survived for three days awaiting rescue with a bottle of coke.
Harrison Okene acknowledged his fate and readied himself to meet his maker until a team of divers who were salvaging the remnants of the ship found Okene who they initially thought was a corpse. Okene returned back to life but will never return back to the sea anymore. (Source; theguardian.com)
See also; 10 People Who Survived Their Execution.
3. Lydia Angiyou
Imagine wrestling a 10 feet being weighing 700 pound that is almost 400 pounds more than the average weight of a Sumo wrestler. Seems impossible, right? But that is exactly what a Canadian mother managed to do in early 2006.
Lydia Angiyou’s motherly instincts tingled one February morning, she went out to check on her kid and his friends playing in the snow. To her horror she saw a polar bear storming at the children. Without missing a beat Lydia Angiyou ran to protect them. She wrestled the bear before it managed to harm her kids and kept it at bay until her neighbor emerged with a rifle and shot the bear 4 times ending Angiyou’s bout with her ill-matched opponent.
The Canadian government honored Lydia Angiyou for her bravery.
2. Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie is perhaps the most famous person in this list. Born in Scotland, Carnegie and his family migrated to America in 1835. Without any formal education Carnegie worked numerous jobs till his years of hard work and determination made him a steel tycoon and one of the richest man in the world. But that is all not nothing compared to the feat he accomplished and that is not something to brag about.
In 1901 Andrew Carnegie retired his life as a business man and in 1902 with a move that shocked the entire nation he sold off his successful Carnegie Company for more than 200 million dollars and began using it for philanthropy. Carnegie cannot be termed as a Philanthropist as his sense of altruism can never be paralleled by any philanthropists.
Till his death Carnegie managed to give away $350 million in charity and various donations which is calculated as more than $5 billion in today’s market. Carnegie employed his considerable resources to combat poverty and illiteracy that plagued his country then. He laid the foundation to many educational institutions and scholarships that functions and encourages students and researchers of various disciplines to this very day.
After his death in 1919, his will dictated that his remaining fortune to be distributed within his workers as pension.
1. Dashrath Manjhi
Gahlaur, a village in Bihar was isolated from the outside world by a range of hills more than 350 feet in height called the Gahlaur Ghats. People in the village had to circumvent the hilly ranges for sustenance and to avail facilities including health care and drinking water.
Phaguni Devi like all the women of the village had to brave treacherous paths for hours to obtain drinking water for her husband Dashrath Manjhi who was a goat farmer. One day Devi returned with a broken pot and a broken leg, she had slipped and fell onto the rocky sides of the hill and was bed ridden for life. Manjhi was anguished by his wife’s predicament and approached the concerned government bureaucrats asking them to build a road that would connect his village to the nearest town and thereby bringing medical aid for his wife. When his efforts failed, Dasrath Manjhi sold his goats to buy a hammer and a chisel and began to carve a path through the mountain by himself in 1959.
Devi’s health took a sad turn and she died shortly after her husband began his gargantuan task. Her death only fuelled Manjhi’s unparalleled determination and courage. He was ridiculed for his choice and became the village idiot but no amount of ridicule and insult could stop him.
Manjhi’s each deft strokes destroyed the hill stone by stone, the process was terrifyingly slow but after 22 years he had an answer to all those who ridiculed him in the form of a 350 feet long and 30 feet wide road through the heart of the hill. His road reduced the distance to the nearest village by 15 km (earlier people had to travel 80 km).
Dashrath Manjhi died due to cancer in 2007. He is known as the ‘man who moved the mountain’.
Written By: Ivan K.