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Maxim's Hometown Heroes

Around this time of year, Hollywood will spend more than a few moments congratulating actors for “heroically” playing make-believe on film. Look, we at Maxim are movie lovers, but we’re here to raise a glass to folks who actually did something heroic. So join us as we toast everyday Americans who risked their lives to save others, pull off the impossible, and stick it to the man.

Illustration by Roberto Parada / Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014

Captain Courage: Pete Vadola 

Photo: Bill Lyons / Staten Island Advance/ Landov
One of the biggest heroes to emerge from Hurricane Sandy, Staten Island’s Pete Vadola commandeered a motorboat to ferry 200 flood-trapped victims to dry land. “I wasn’t a hero,” he said. “I was a neighbor helping the people of my neighborhood that I love, the way I know they would have helped me and my family.” As it happened, Vadola’s home was later destroyed in a fire, and his neighbors helped get him back on his feet. Forget a slow clap—this guy deserves a standing ovation. 

Smooth Operator: Antoinette Tuff
When an unhinged man with an assault rifle entered a Georgia elementary school and fired a round into the floor, Tuff, the school’s bookkeeper, called 911 and calmly coaxed the gunman into surrendering to police. No kids were hurt, and Tuff lived up to her last name when things could easily have taken a horrific turn. 
Pimpin’ Prom King: Jake Davidson

Courtesy of Jake Davidson
Los Angeles high schooler Jake Davidson was either incredibly ballsy or wildly delusional: He posted a YouTube video asking superbabe Kate Upton to his prom while shaving, showering, and talking to the camera Ferris Bueller style. Upton couldn’t make it, but fellow supermodel Nina Agdal came to the rescue and made Jake undoubtedly the envy of his male classmates. Hell, the envy of men everywhere. We just hope he was able to leverage his stunt into landing an actual girlfriend…or at least one of the blowup variety. 

AWOL at AOL: Eric Simons
As a 19-year-old computer whiz trying to launch his own start-up, Simons hid out at AOL’s offices in Palo Alto, Cali­fornia for two months before security caught on. It was worth it, though: Simons got his company, Claco, off the ground and be­came something of a Silicon Valley legend.
The Spandexed Savior: Diamond Dallas Page
From the ring to the mat, the ex-wrestler has reinvented himself as a humble yoga instructor, leading free classes of “DDP Yoga” at his Georgia home. Besides staying limber, he’s helped fellow ex-grapplers Jake “the Snake” Roberts and Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall conquer their addictions. 
The Gustatory Gladiator: Matt “Megatoad” Stonie

Photo: Bobby Bank / Getty
No one gave this 125-pound 21-year-old much of a chance against legendary competitive eater Joey Chestnut, who outweighed his challenger by more than 100 pounds. But then Stonie ate 268 gyozas to Chestnut’s 251. Just imagine what he’ll do when he weighs more than an Olsen twin.

An Interview With Charles Ramsey
by Chris Wilson
When the Cleveland native and McDonald’s aficionado helped rescue three imprisoned young women, it was a dead giveaway that he’d become a national sensation. 

Photo: Scott Shav / Plain Dealer / Landov
The rescue was a huge story. How have things changed for you?
I’m really not doing anything different. I’ve been doing a little guest speaking. Women, they used to run away from me; now they run toward me. So I’m embracing it, you know what I mean?
How have you been supporting yourself?
You know what? There’s a whole bunch of things coming out with my name and likeness on them. I didn’t give permission for that. It’s not about no video game or action figure or nothing like that—it’s about girls not suffering anymore. I’m not a comic book hero; I’m a real person. I’m just a dude. When I did what I did, for some reason people think I became a millionaire. I’m still just a dishwasher, dude. 
Is it true you had to move away from your home?
I haven’t been there since the day it happened. I see people at the gas station, and they’re like, “We just came from there!” I’m like, “Why?”
Have you spoken to any of the women you freed from captivity?
We haven’t spoken at all. I got no reason to reach out to them, and they got no reason to reach out to me.
What do you make of the guy who tattooed your face on his leg?
I was thinking about getting his face on my 
leg. I figured if he did me a solid, I’d do him one, too.
How did you end up onstage at that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony show?
I knew them when they were peons, before they were rappers. I was going to their concerts 20 years ago. But the coolest thing I’ve gotten to do? I got invited on the boat called The Sequoia; it was the first White House yacht. John F. Kennedy cheated on his wife with Marilyn Monroe on it!
What’s next for you?
I’d like to work for Maxim magazine. I’ll go around with a camera and do some real-world stuff. Me and you could hang out! But I also want to help organizations find missing people. 
How about a TV show?
I’d like to do a reality show. It’s the only dream that keeps coming to me in my head, bro. To help find missing people, kids, women, whatever. I’m the black John Walsh!