The first time I met Rosemary Heath was the day after her husband George was murdered right before her eyes as the couple fought valiantly to save a pregnant waitress who was being attacked by a madman with a knife. I remember thinking that this was the strongest woman I had ever met but that one day she would need all of our help to cope with the ordeal that changed her life in an instant.

DaRosa's car rams Macy's prior to the siege at Bertucci's (Taylor Cormier/TSM)

The Heaths were having drinks and were about to order dinner at the Bertucci’s at the Silver City Galleria in May of 2016, a place they frequented and were known and well-liked by the staff and other regulars. Arthur DaRosa burst into the restaurant after already causing death and injury to others in Taunton and at the mall and began to stab waitress Sheenah Savoya repeatedly. Without thinking about her safety, Rosemary grabbed DaRosa by the shirt and held him long enough for George to attempt to subdue him. George Heath paid for his heroics with his life.

Credit: Rosemary Heath Facebook Page

DaRosa stabbed George Heath multiple times in the head with his knife and might have stabbed others, including Rosemary Heath, had off-duty Plymouth County Sheriff's Deputy James Creed not been there. Creed, who was having dinner with his wife, shot and killed DaRosa and the violence stopped as quickly as it had begun.

In a flash, Rosemary's life had changed forever.

Since her beloved George's death, Rosemary has attempted to soldier on but has battled a form of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her ordeal. She has been unable to work and was facing the loss of the home she and George shared and loved so dearly. The mortgage company had given Rosemary until December 27 to come up with  $25,000 or it would foreclose on the home.

Rosemary's sister Elizabeth Kenny established a crowdfunding campaign in hopes of raising the money and as of yesterday, nearly 2,000 people had responded pledging some $96,000 so that Rosemary can keep her home. What an amazing testament to the human spirit.

George Heath was a hero who sacrificed his life so that others might live. But Rosemary Heath is also a hero. Had it not been for her selfless act, a waitress and her unborn baby most likely would have died that night in May. The waitress survived the attack and delivered a healthy child thanks to Rosemary Heath.

During a week in which we mourn the untimely and tragic deaths of three local fishermen killed when their vessel capsized in rough seas during a storm, how comforting it is to see the community rise up in support of a woman whose strength and courage will long be remembered for reaching out to someone so badly in need, even if it meant putting her own life on the line. She paid dearly for her bravery.

Rosemary Heath is my hero and I'm glad the community was there for her in her time of need. Rosemary delivered for us. How wonderful it is that so many delivered this holiday miracle for her.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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