Many of you have heard about the earthquakes and ensuing tsunami driven destruction that followed. A city of 162,000 people submerged in raging currents, downed power lines, and hazardous debris.
This is the story of the man who braved it all for his wife. After the magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck, a panicked Akaiwa phoned his wife, trying desperately to make sure the love of his life was safe and clear of any danger. What he got was dead phone lines and news of an incoming tsunami, about to bury his home prefecture in a torrent of icy black water. Instead of playing it safe, and waiting on the sidelines for the overburdened relief crews to handle the search--Hideaki bolted into action. An avid surfer, it didn't take long for Hideaki to equip himself with his wetsuit, scuba gear, and barrel headlong into the wreckage.
If you've ever been diving you know that the most hazardous conditions are those where you combine debris and any sort of current. Akaiwa needed to deal with tsunami backwash, floating CARS, chunks of buildings, toxic sewage overflow, and energy draining ice water. Against all odds and after ceaseless hours of searching Mr. Akaiwa located his wife of 20 years to what was more than likely a very emotional reunion.
When interviewed about the event, Akaiwa simple replied, "she is very important to me".
But he wasn't done yet. Another exhausting 3 days of searching and he also located his mother, trapped on the upper level of her house by the rushing waters.
With his family safe, most men would have quit while they were ahead--why brave tsunami waters and dangerous conditions for complete strangers.
This is apparently not the case for Akaiwa, who continues to patrol the streets, on constant lookout for trapped tsunami survivors. Armed with a pocket knife, flashlight, and a couple packs of cigarettes--this is a surfer who through his selfless actions, and incredible bravery, does his community proud. Are you serving your fellow man? Are you making an impact on your community? Or are you just complaining about how crowded "your" spot has gotten. Leave a comment below and tell us how you are changing your community. If you can't leave a comment... well you may need to reevaluate a few things.
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