“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it” is a quote attributed to Charles Dudley Warner, an editor at the Hartford Courant in the late 1800s. But as Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean writes in her latest book, “I Am the Storm: Inspiring Stories of People Who Fight Against Overwhelming Odds,” there are those who do something about bad conditions.
They storm against powerful interests.
Ms. Dean became the tempest when her in-laws died alone within weeks of each other after being exposed to COVID-19 in separate New York nursing homes. Her battle was against former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo based on the apparent decision to allow nursing home patients to be unduly exposed to COVID-19.
In addition to recounting her own struggle, Ms. Dean details numerous other David and Goliath contests in “I Am the Storm.” She dedicates her book: “For those who continue to fight. Never give up.”
Those who took on Goliath include a New York assemblyman’s support of Ms. Dean’s challenge of the powerful political machine shielding the tragic COVID-19 decisions, a mother going after the opioid crisis after her daughter’s suicide attributable to her daughter’s drug addiction, a gymnast’s voice challenging abuse that she says during intense physical training.
It highlights the amazing resolve of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team member who experienced the devastating effects of a roadside bomb in Afghanistan; a firefighter’s tenacity in bringing the health care plight of 9/11 World Trade Center emergency responders to a congressman for a bill ensuring long-term medical assistance. It showcases a nurse’s and even a chef’s struggle against the realities and restrictions related to COVID-19 bureaucratic resolutions, and so many more moving narratives.
The most tearful chapter is titled “If God Puts a Goliath in Front of You, There Must Be a David Inside of You.” This is a quote from Carlla and Brad Detwiler, the parents of a child they named David, who faced tremendous odds against survival even in utero. David’s against-all-odds medical condition was the fact that he was gestating with only one kidney and that one was nonfunctioning. There was reportedly only one case in the U.S. where a baby survived the syndrome, which causes and contributes to numerous complications, including the lack of lung development and blindness. One of the notable physicians who joined the battle on David’s behalf was Akron Children’s Hospital director of pediatric nephrology, Dr. Shefali Mahesh.
David is now a happy boy who survived with heroic medical attention before and continuing daily after his birth. He is a blessing to his attentive, loving family and all who are privileged to meet him.
The chapter resonated with me because many years ago, my wife and I had the honor to work as live-in house parents for several mentally and physically challenged adults. One young man had severe Down syndrome and was blind, and he needed careful attention. We worked closely with him and helped him to achieve substantial independent living. We took him on many enjoyable outings, even to an upscale restaurant and church services. He had an amazing personality, which so many seemed to overlook. To this day, he is the most loving person I have ever met.
Well-known and not-so-well-known events are included in “I Am the Storm.” The book features an interview with Mike Eruzione, the Olympic gold medalist who scored the winning goal for the 1980 U.S. hockey team, and an interview with Asra Nomani, a colleague of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Less known is the yeoman effort to extricate U.S. allies left behind after the quick military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 and the world-changing weather observation by Maureen Flavin of Ireland on June 3, 1944 that gave the green light to the D-Day invasion three days later. (By the way, on June 3, Maureen will celebrate her 100th birthday!)
Ms. Dean’s engaging, informative and encouraging book has a powerful introduction that ends with: “The common threads through all of these moments are resilience, hope, and perseverance. The question is, how long are you willing to fight for the truth, and if no one else rises to the challenge, do you stand alone? It’s that moment when fate whispers to the warrior and says, ‘You cannot withstand the storm,’ And the warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’”
And so the storm begins.
• Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and an adjunct associate professor of science at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
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I Am the Storm: Inspiring Stories of People Who Fight Against Overwhelming Odds
Janice Dean, HarperCollins, Jan. 17, 2023, 256 pages, $28.99.