A rare victory for Don Quixote
When earthquakes struck the Sichuan Province of China, 10,000 school children, killed in their school buildings, were among the 60,000-some acknowledged victims. These deaths stood in stark contrast to the fact that not one of the more than 2,000 students in the Peace County school near the epicenter of the quakes was injured or killed. The startling contrast was explained by the Peace County School's prinicipal's decades-long struggle to bring his two four- and five-story buildings up to a reasonable construction standard.
By hindsight it is evident that China's school buildings were not adequately constructed or designed. This principal, Mr. Ye, did not need the benefit of hindsight. He observed that his older buildings were structurally unsound and continuously pestered the County authorites for money to reinforce the contcrete floors, pillars and balconies. Eventually, at a cost of about $58,000.00, enough reinforcing rod and additional concrete and iron was installed to enable the buildings to withstand the 2008 earthquake. A slightly overweight, modest and unassuming man, Mr. Ye explained that "If I knew there was a hidden danger, and I didn't do anything about it, then I would be the one responsible..." It is too bad that more people don't think as Mr. Ye thinks: today more than 2000 families are celebrating the foresight and dedication of this one humble public servant. While his actions did not benefit U.S. citizens directly, perhaps his example will.