A Profile in Courage

I recently found my 8th grade copy of John F. Kennedy’s 1955 Pulitzer Prize book, Profiles in Courage that I remember buying for .85 at The Sheridan School Book Fair.

It’s the inspiration behind the Profiles In Courage Award given every year at The Kennedy Library in Boston. Caroline Kennedy, who in 2002 compiled 13 essays on selected recipients of the prestigious award in her book, Profiles In Courage For Our Time that, along with her father’s, are two first-rate reads.

They got me thinking about personal heroes since I know we all have them.

My friend Jennifer Panton, who took over the’ United Action For Animals founded in 1967 that promotes ethical standards of conduct and practices in all areas of animal care, came to mind (I took that right off their website because I couldn’t have said it better).

I write a lot about animals and am known as a bit of a fanatic where their welfare is concerned, but I’m small potatoes when it comes to stepping up to the plate compared to my friend. Yes, I’m good at writing checks and penning a post on their behalf, but to do the deep dirty work that she does is so beyond my capabilities.

Unlike Jennifer, I don’t have it in me to be a warrior.

First of all let me say she’s the most beautiful girl that looks more like a Rose Bowl Queen than an avid animal activist. She’s blond and stately with a smile that knows no bounds with five-ply determination and the courage of a Green Beret.

Dog fighting is one of the many areas of animal abuse she passionately champions. It’s how she got Anthony, her handsome, beloved pit that she rescued from someone that would make the hairs on your neck stand up. She’s utterly fearless when it comes to protecting an animal possessing nobleness unlike anyone I’ve ever seen.

She recently fostered two pit bull puppies that were rescued from a ring who blessedly were still too young to fight. Five minutes in the company of these two would defy the bad reputation of pits forever; cute, lovable, innocent and thanks to Jennifer and two other noble lads, were incredibly lucky. She trained them tirelessly through teething as well as housebreaking which is no easy task. Your vigilance along with patience and unstinting love needs to be front and center at all times. Her furniture has taken quite a beating since puppies chew whatever is in their path, but she loved them throughout the challenging process preparing them for safe, happy homes.

That’s the other thing I marvel at. After months of bonding she lets them go which I know can’t be easy yet she’s stoic in this area as well. Every time one lands a loving home she gets to rescue another and believe me, the vetting process is more than thorough. You have to be a special, honorable human being to adopt one of her 4-legged pals with the ability to prove it. I think acquiring an Asian baby might be easier.

Imagine going to court facing some of the monsters who get busted for the heinous sport of dog fighting. Michael Vick was just the tip of the iceberg. The thought of this preppy looking lady against all that reputed evil makes me break out into a sweat.

Hell, I’m afraid of the Fedex guy who growls because I don’t have an elevator.

Can you blame me for being in utter awe of her?

Go to United Action for Animals and see what a pretty girl can do when her heart opens the width of The Atlantic.

As far as heroes go, JFK had Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams; Caroline, John Lewis and Gerald Ford,

I have Jennifer Panton.  

So who’s your hero?



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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6 Responses to A Profile in Courage

  1. Ted Jonathan says:

    Sean Penn for the work he does in Haiti, and a thin girl for producing engaging, genuinely funny, and sophisticated posts to us daily.


  2. Danielle says:

    I now have Jennifer Panton as well because of your article. Thank you


  3. Susan Thornton says:

    One of those pit puppies that Jennifer Panton loved through teething her furniture and stair balusters to a near state of torture is now my family’s beloved pet. I cannot imagine our life without our precious Stuart. I, too, am in awe of Jennifer. She is certainly our family’s hero. Especially Stuart’s.


    • I was there when Stuart and Bella showed up, and boy were they the sweetest. I am so happy you wrote to me…you’ll never know how happy I am they both got such swell homes. Jennifer really gives rescue all new meaning. Hug Stuie for me…I remember Jennifer lending me a book he had teethed on and we made a joke that…it was dog-eared personally by Stuart 🙂


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