Leading article: A hero for our times

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The Independent Online

According to the Gospel of John, "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". In that case, what a loving heart Warrant Officer Gary O'Donnell must have possessed.

It was Mr O'Donnell's job to defuse the lethal explosive devices embedded by insurgents in the roadsides of Afghanistan and Iraq. Like his fellow bomb disposal specialists, Mr O'Donnell frequently put his life at risk to save other soldiers. The father-of-four did this job with such extraordinary courage that he was awarded the George Medal on two occasions.

But in September last year, a roadside bomb planted in Musa Qala, Afghanistan, brought that brave life to an end.

As Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb, the commander of the British field army, put it yesterday: "Look no further for your 21st-century role models". Look to the courageous love of individuals such as Gary O'Donnell.