Virginia National Guard officer, Harris Corp. engineer named Red Cross Hero
We continue our Celebration of Heroes series.
This year, two people are honored as Red Cross Good Samaritan Heroes.
We introduce you to a man who is a Virginia National Guard Brigadier General and Harris Corp. employee, who gives back to the community in many ways, including sharing his story to inspire the next generation.
We followed along as Brigadier Gen. Lapthe Flora took the stage at Lucy Addison Middle School in Roanoke.
He spoke to the seventh-grade class about dreaming big, but more importantly working hard.
“Anything is possible. If they have a dream, they can realize that dream and all they have to do is just look at it. There is no fancy formula, there is no, ‘You have to be rich or you have to be in a certain group of people to be successful.’ No, you don't,” Flora said.
Flora told 10 news that encouraging the next generation is his duty.
He escaped communism in Vietnam as a child and came to America on a sponsorship.
Lucy Addison was the first school he attended when he arrived.
When he walked through the halls for the first time, he couldn't even speak English.
“Life is about how much you want to put in and how much you're going to get out,” Flora said. “I know that to be true because I'm a living proof of that. I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I compensate (for) that by working hard.”
Flora's life lesson really stuck with students.
“He said that if I respect people and that I thanked them, then they will continue to help me,” said Kaleb Fricke, a Lucy Addison seventh-grader. “That help is very important when you're striving to be what you want to be."
Speaking to the next generation is just one way Flora makes a difference in the community.
Colleagues say he volunteers at VA hospitals, helped to launch the Virginia Veterans Parade and gives countless hours in other community events, making him a Good Samaritan Hero.
"I'm just like any other Roanoker here, doing my part,” Flora said.
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