HEROES OF FORGIVENESS
Chris Loukas and
In 1994, 39-year-old Steve Backman was depressed, suicidal, and drinking to excess every day. On a rainy night on January 28, 1994, Backman drank heavily and then drove recklessly on Hwy 116 across the double yellow line to strike a car driven by Chris Loukas. The impact caused Loukas’s lungs to be punctured and broke almost every bone in his body. For six weeks Loukas hovered between life and death in a coma.
Backman was arrested and charged with felony drunk driving. During that six weeks, Backman read that Loukas’s medical bills ran to over $500,000. Backman was so tortured that against all advice, he went to the hospital and approached the Loukas family, asking to talk to Loukas. When Backman was escorted by Loukas’s wife into the Loukas hospital room, Loukas saw him and immediately said, "Open up your arms and come here."
The two men hugged – both crying for 10-12 minutes. "The love and forgiveness they showed me," Backman said, "was a miracle. Something I never knew existed. When I walked out of that hospital room I weighed 500 pounds less. I saw everything in brilliant color when it had been black and white before."
Each year on February 28th, Backman and Loukas meet to celebrate the event that drove them together.
HEROES of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Peace
The designation of "Hero of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Peace" is bestowed upon those who have courageously and dramatically stepped forward to demonstrate and exemplify the concept of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.
These are not necessarily famous people. They are often ordinary people who have chosen to express profound and genuine forgiveness in their personal lives. These people have experienced a transformation as a result of their act or acts of forgiveness and demonstrate how this change continues to manifest over time. Their stories can inspire and motivate ordinary people to act in a similar manner.
CHAMPIONS of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Peace
The "Champions of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Peace" designation is bestowed upon those whose professional work inspires and leads the way by defining, applying and spreading the concept of forgiveness reconciliation and peace.