As I reflect on the year 2012, the people below stand out as being heroic:
Scientist Dr. Shinya Yamanaka
This scientist from Japan, along with British scientist John Gurdon, won the 2012 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his research in the area of stem cells. He has shown the medical community that it is no longer necessary to use embroyonic stem cells in their research. Yamanaka’s ethical work has resulted in “stem cell research into drugs, treatments and transplants without having to use human embroyos.”
I admire that Yamanaka allowed his pro-life convictions to guide his scientific inquiry for the betterment of humanity.
Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis
This courageous man recognizes that any city’s battle with crime involves a spiritual battle. In mentioning that prayer could bring about change in Winnipeg, Manitoba (considered the capital of violent crime in Canada), Clunis faced criticism from many quarters claiming that faith has no place in public life.
I admire Chief Clunis in getting to the root of crime—the sinful human heart—as well as pointing people of faith to a life of prayer and action to make our communities better.
Canadian Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth
The Honourable Steven Woodworth introduced a private member’s bill to the House of Commons in the spring in order to determine when a fetus becomes a human being. Canada’s current law states that a fetus becomes human only after it has fully emerged from the birth canal; there is no protection of the fetus’ rights until that point.
Although the bill was ultimately defeated in September, I admire Mr. Woodworth’s courage in addressing this huge gap in Canadian human rights. He faced the wrath of many in his own party, including the Prime Minister himself, and brought this important issue to the forefront.
Fostering and Adoptive Parents
Some unsung heroes to whom I need to give honour are those who have opened their home to children not biologically their own. Two of the students in my current Junior Kindergarten class have been given a loving home by wonderful adopting parents. This is a day in and day out commitment without always knowing the kinds of trauma a child experienced before or how that will affect his or her future.
I admire these people because right before my eyes they reflect the incomprehensible love that God has in adopting us as his own children.
Is there someone who you would like to honour because of their impact on you in 2012? Post a comment and share it with us!
 From the text of The Millennium Technology Prize also awarded to Dr. Yamanaka by the Technology Academy of Finland in 2012, quoted in “Nobel scientist’s moral achievement” by William Saletan in the Waterloo Region Record, October 13, 2012, page A13.
 As reported in Christian Week (Ontario Edition), November 2012, page 24