Friday, August 03, 2007
I just met Superwoman
Fire Captain Shanna Hanson won't like being described as Superwoman, but I think it's perfect. This 16-year-veteran of the Minneapolis Fire Department was sitting at home when the Minneapolis bridge collapsed. She literally leapt into action.

Hanson rushed to the scene and then jumped across rooftops to start rescuing people from the Mississippi River. If you were watching CNNs breaking news coverage Wednesday night, you probably saw her swimming in the mangled debris looking for survivors.

But what you and I couldn't see is how Hanson got there. When she mentioned leaping across rooftops to me, I quickly replied, "You did what?"

When I met Shanna Hanson this afternoon in Minneapolis, she was anxious about discussing her experience in the water. She was worried about "the heat" she'd soon be receiving from her fire fighting comrades. Of course, her story should be told.

Shanna Hanson wasn't the only human doing superhuman things Wednesday night in Minneapolis. But one person's heroics can sometimes tell the story of many.

-- By Ed Lavandera, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 6:43 AM ET
  17 Comments
Police officers, firefighters and rescue workers all over the country are true American heroes. These are the people- not celebrities-- who our kids should be looking up to.
Posted By Steve, Peoria, Ill. : 6:56 AM ET
Shannon's dedication to helping people in need is inspiring. Of all the images of this horrible catastrophe, I think the one that will stay with me is that of this brave self-less woman repeating diving to look for people to help. Her example is humbling.
Posted By Annie Kate, Birmingham AL : 7:40 AM ET
We the people are extraordinary. Thank you, Captain Hanson, for confirming that again.
Posted By Sally : 8:35 AM ET
In watching the scenes of Shanna, you can see sacrifice at it's finest. To do things that could possibly risk your own life to help people you never have met before is really amazing.

Shanna seems to be quiet humble in telling the story of this experience and that is refreshing. Heartfelt thanks to Shanna and all the rescue workers for all their hard work and dedication in this unfortunate situation. You are all in my prayers
Posted By Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 8:35 AM ET
We the people are extraordinary. Thank you, Captain Hanson, for proving that yet again.
Posted By Sally, Texas Gulf Coast : 8:37 AM ET
It's nice to have a name and an interview with Shanna Hanson, after seeing her working in action. I admire her courage and respect all rescuers, when they say, they were just doing their job. Yes, it's their job, but we the public sometimes take their service for granted, and we shouldn't.
Our police and firefighters, even the good Samaritan who jumps right in are Supermen and Superwomen. We owe them a big Thanks. Thanks
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 10:59 AM ET
She may not want to be called a hero but it is true. Just like the 9/11 World Trade Center responders- they went in when needed. My older brother is a volunteer fire fighter and I know how much danger this job can involve. Thank goodness there are people willing & able to do it and keep us safe.
Posted By Beth in Dallas, TX : 11:43 AM ET
She simply did what we as humans are called to do, help others in need without thinking about ourselves. Imagine how much more amazing our world could be if we all followed her example using our own gifts and talents to lend that proverbial hand up to those in need no matter how big or small the situation is.
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 12:04 PM ET
I have eyewitnessed a couple of divers in the Hudson river myself. Especially to check for leakage on the New York sewage system. WHat a job!

Next to the first 9/11 response workers, there were also first response canines who died of cancer.

The closest I have been in rescue/release team, was to preserve burned bodies from a plane crash accident back in my homeland. It is very taxing task to deal with smells, identification-description of belongings which family members could identify (DNA testing was too expensive at that time 1980+) and then dealing with crying families in the hallway. An intensive daunting task.

The work that Minneapolis-rescue-workers are currently doing must have an enormous physical and psychological impact on them. My good luck wishes to them.

My prayers go out to all the Minneapolis families of the missing ones!
Posted By Ratna, New York, NY : 12:34 PM ET
Ed I did see her on your coverage. All I could think was this woman is incredible. I figured she was a rescue worker, but all she had for safety was a yellow rope tied to her. She was literally holding her breath and going under water. I'm sure quite a few people owe their lives to Shanna and she deserves to be called a hero and Superwoman. She is just one shining example of the dedication of our nation's rescue workers.
Posted By Melina - Gilbert, AZ : 2:31 PM ET
Watching the bridge coverage with my two teens and several of their friends - we all noticed her. It was inspiring. Felt like you wanted to cheer her on. In the middle of this tragedy, the face of a beautiful woman. What a great image and influence for young people to see! Thanks for your strength, Shanna.
Posted By Anna, Worthington, IN : 11:14 PM ET
As a Fire Fighter for twenty-seven years I am proud of Shanna Hanson for her humble attitude and team spirit. She displayed extreme professionalism during and after the bridge collapse. Her courage to speak-up and give credit to others and downplay her rescue role is a sign of a true Fire Fighter. I hope to someday shake her hand and tell her job well done. Everyone who gave a helping hand should be praised for caring for their fellow man.
Posted By Allen Brassfield : 11:45 PM ET
This story truly exemplifies heroism, but most of all a true example of the purpose of the oath of public service and the selflessness involved, as the rest of the U.S. government should take note of. Most of all an example of what Jesus says, to love thy neighbor as thyself. The U.S. and world would be a better place if we all followed suite. Thank you.
Posted By Skinney @ Des Moines, IA : 4:05 PM ET
Training, training and training. These people knew and were ready to do what was needed. Thier organizations made training a vital priority, valued and supported (both time and money) it. Both did wonderfully and have reason to be immensely proud. Thier actions and decisions enabled the blessings each provided. Thanks doesn't begin to cover it.

Colette Duranleau
Posted By Colette Duranleau : 1:26 AM ET
Capt Shanna Hanson deserves a medal for her bravery from the President of the US for her heroic life saving efforts at the bridge collapse. People that do these kinds of heroic deeds deserve this type of recognition.

Frank Sobkowich, Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Posted By Frank Sobkowich : 4:24 AM ET
I am the wife of a career firefighter in Maine. While at a picnic the other day with a large group of firefighters, Shanna's name came up. Everyone in the group was impressed at how humble she was in the fact that she wanted to deflect the praise from herself to her co-workers on duty. It's not often these guys agree on anything, but all were touched by what a class act this young woman is. The city of Minneapolis and it's citizens are blessed to have her, she is truly the best of the best.

Heroes are everyday people who do the extraordinary. Our firefighters and first responders are exactly that.
Posted By Anonymous : 12:41 PM ET
Shanna, and people like her are true American heros, they should all get more credit than they actually do.
Posted By Laura : 5:01 PM ET
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