Diana Boylston headshot

Where Are the Heroes?

Many people aren’t interested in being called a “hero” — especially someone who is doing a heroic deed. My beloved deceased husband, a fire chief, ran into burning buildings when everyone else was running out. I’d tell him, “God sent me my own personal hero.” He’d gruffly respond, “I’m no hero … I’m just doing what has to be done. I’m doing my job.” True dat. And he made his living like that for many a year. 
Many of us in the New Orleans Local are struggling to make a living, and it’s been harder than ever since COVID-19 impacted both production and other sources of our income. We have true concerns about our health coverage and wonder when we will make enough to earn another year toward pension or maybe even pay rent. I’ve been exploring ways to find help for our members and looking for heroes out there. And guess what? They’re right here in our local.
Local member, stunt performer and nurse Holly O’Quin is a hero. Though one way she earns a living is being a nurse, it’s what she does when not getting paid that has inspired me, and I hope it inspires you. Whether Holly was bringing her own masks, gloves and supplies to hospitals in states that had none to treat deathly ill COVID patients or volunteering after Hurricane Laura, working in shelters for days at a time with no electricity or shower, no bandages or meds for evacuees, her reason for doing so was the same. 

I asked her, “Why are you doing this, Holly?”  

Her straightforward reply was urgent and spoke to the human spirit that’s in each of us. “People need help!” Holly answered. 

I asked, “What can I do? I’m not a nurse.” 

She answered, “Do what you can! Do what you know. But do something. You teach. Help parents who are overwhelmed with kids. Tutor. There’s something each of us can do.”
This made me stop and think. Heroes come in many forms.

In June, in the middle of the pandemic, another member, Judd Wild, brought a much needed morale boost and recognition to our membership by volunteering his time and talents to design a social distancing photo shoot with local stunt performers. The photo and the article he wrote about it, can be seen on the SAG-AFTRA website here.

In September, I shared resources to help members as well as info about another local hero and member, Jeff Galpin, volunteering with the Cajun Navy. In case you missed that email, click here.

Each of us can be a hero to someone. Do you know your hero skills?

You can help from your couch. Call your elected representatives to get unemployment checks to continue and expand the COBRA subsidy.

You can help by cleaning out your home. Donate used computers or supplies to re:Purpose New Orleans

You can help on set. Watch out and speak up for fellow cast and crew to ensure everyone is safe. Call 844-SAFER SET to report unsafe working conditions.

If you or someone you know has been a hero, please share your story with me at neworleans.president@sagaftra.org.

Here’s to the hero in you,

Diana Boylston,
New Orleans Local President


Help Center

On-Set Emergency

On-Set Emergency: (844) 723-3773

Help Center

How can we help? Call, chat with a rep, get answers to FAQs or send us an email.