My Hero: Marla Ruzicka!
On Saturday, April 16, 2005 Marla Ruzicka was killed in a suicide bomb attack on the Baghdad airport road.
Marla died doing what she loved: helping the innocent civilian victims of war. At the time of her killing, Marla was on the way to see a young Iraqui girl who had been injured in another explosion.
Many of our top American politicians knew instantly who you were speaking of if you just said the word “Marla”, as she had been a vociferous and outspoken activist ever since she was in high school. When Marla died she was 28 years old.
After graduating from high school in her little hometown in northern California, this beautiful blonde firebrand went to work for the San Francisco-based human rights group: Global Exchange. Working for Global Exchange, marla got to travel to Latin america, Africa, Cuba, the Middle East, and many of the “hot spots” where innocent civilians were becoming what we now refer to as “collateral damage”.
With her experience in the years at Global Exchange, and using the contacts she had made there all over the world and in political circles, Marla founded the humanitarian non-profit Foundation “CIVIC”- The Campaign For Innocent Victims in Conflict- in 2003 on a shoestring budget and no facilities. she begged and borrowed about $4,000 from her family and friends to buy a ticket from California to Iraq and ended up there sleeping on couches and floors to save money as she began her work trying to help the people there who had been maimed or the families of those who had been killed.
Marla used her bouyant personality and knaclk for always making strangers instant friends to overcome the American military’s “Cold Shoulder” to the civilian Iraqui casualties. More often than not, Marla would be able to somehow get the military authorities to pay these destitute families at least something.
The Reverend Ted Oswald, who conducted the Memorial Mass at St. Mary’s Catholic church in Lakewood, California, 350 miles north of San Francisco, compared Ruzicka to Mother Theresa. From all I have read about Marla, she seems like a mix of Mother theresa and goldie Hawn. Many celebrities attended the Service including Sean Penn who said that Marla was his hero also.
Reverend Oswald said how when Marla was 8 years old, she had gone door to door in her neighborhood selling rocks to raise money to buy her mother some flowers, and that Marla was well-known for doing things in her “own way–and sometimes in a not-so-subtle-way”. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the good Lord has his hands full right now,” Oswald said, referring to Ruzicka’s outspoken nature. “Not only does he have his hands full, but heaven will never be the same.”
I would be at peace if when I was close to death I knew that I had been able to accomplish even “some” of what Marla Ruzicka had during her short 28 years on this planet!Powered by Sidelines