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Win a Kindle Fire, $100, or Autographed Books in the True Hero Contest!

WHAT IS A HERO?

Too often we confuse heroes with celebrities. Rock stars, actors and athletes are routinely admired. Kids love to emulate them and wear their paraphernalia. Not to demean what they’ve accomplished—talent and success are something to be admired—but is what they’ve done heroic?

In Along the Watchtower, Lt. Freddie Williams is decorated with the silver and bronze stars for his actions under fire in the Iraq war. Still, he doesn’t see himself as heroic, but rather as someone who did his job and was true to his fellow warriors. What’s more heroic are his struggles, day in and day out to overcome his personal demons, to learn to walk again, to allow Becky into his life, and—despite all that happened—to find a reason to live.

Heroism comes in many forms: the parent who helps a small child through a difficult surgery and then nurses her back to health; the son who takes an elderly parent with cancer to radiation and chemo and supports him through treatment; the person who overcomes a mental, physical or emotional disability to accomplish something most people had deemed impossible.

Each one of us will eventually have trauma and trials in our lives. As humans, there’s no way to avoid it. How we respond to that adversity is what makes those moments heroic.

CONTEST:

What trials have you or someone you know overcome in their lives? And what about the way they responded made them heroic? Leave a comment below detailing your answer, and enter to win this hero tribute contest.

PRIZES:

  • A Kindle Fire to the most touching tribute
  • A $100 Amazon gift card to the runner-up
  • An autographed copy of Along the Watchtower to one random commenter
  • An autographed copy of There Comes a Prophet to one random commenter

RULES:

  • Answer the contest question by leaving a comment below—the more detailed, the better!
  • You may enter as many times as you’d like during the contest period. Just be sure to share unique stories of the everyday heroes in your life.
  • The contest will end at 5 PM EST on Saturday, July 27, provided 100 entries have been secured.
  • If fewer than 100 entries are obtained by the contest close period, it will be extended until Monday, July 29 at 12 noon EST.
  • The winners will be announced via this blog (and an email from Novel Publicity) the day following its close.

BONUS CONTEST:

Don’t forget to stop by the main tour page and enter the Rafflecopter contest. Two $50 Amazon gift cards and an autographed copy each of Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet are up for grabs. That’s here – http://www.novelpublicity.com/watchtower/

Good luck, everyone!

55 Comments

  1. My heroes are my aunt and uncle. They’ve been through so much with a disease that has lasted over a decade, two surgeries, and many health issues. They’ve gone through not having enough money between relying on disability compensation and facing staggering medical bills. But still, the unfaltering love they have for one another shines through in everything they do. They give back to their community, have raised two wonderful boys, and are devoted members of their church. They are always there for me when I need them even though my problems are so small by comparison. They are the kind of person I aspire to be myself, and I love them immensely.

  2. Nancy

    I think myself as a hero. I’m a young 58 and ive been in this nursing home over 3 years. When i arrived here i cried. I thought i was too young. I found out i was wrong. There are people younger than me here. I’ve taken in on by myself to meet each new resident who comes onto the floor. I tell them all the activities that are available and answer any questions. I always try to be upbeat and positive. A smile goes along way in easing someones fears.

  3. Two years ago I was pregnant with identical twin girls. When we were 20 weeks pregnant, we were diagnosed with a terrible disease – Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. We were told both babies would die. Fortunately, the doctors are not always correct. I was hospitalized three times, the last time for 5 weeks. The babies were born ten weeks early, both alive. However, one of them passed away after just two short days. The other baby spent 12 weeks in Neonatal Intensive Care. During this time, we also had a four year old and a just barely 2 year old at home. I could tell you about numerous heroes that helped us survive during this time. People who sent us money and brought us meals – some of them complete strangers. But the biggest hero of all is my oldest sister. When we were diagnosed with TTTS, she immediately started helping us out with the other two children and household work (since I was on bedrest.) Once I was hospitalized, my sister put her life on hold, moved in to my house, and took care of my children, my house, me, and helped my husband. It relieved me so much to know that my children were being taken care of while I lay in a hospital bed. She brought my little ones to visit me, she brought me items to cheer me up, she came in to sit with me when my husband wasn’t able to be there with me. She cried with me when the doctor told us that one of our babies had virtually no chance of survival, she arranged the baptism of our daughter who was dying. Basically, she kept my life going so that I could tend to the babies that needed all of me. She stayed with us for six weeks after until I could drive again. My sister made true sacrifices in the name of love, and for this, she will always be my hero.

  4. A hero is someone who sacrifices what they want and need for the greater good. My father is a hero in this respect. Architecture was his first love, before he met my mom that is, and he studied long and hard to achieve his dream. He worked in San Francisco at a large firm for many years until four children blessed his life and the commute became too much for my mother. Looking for a position closer to home, he found instead a fantastic offer in the mid-west to design for a large fortune 500 company needing new facilities in several towns and cities. Moving his whole family across the country was a challenge, but once there the whole crew found a love for the area and the people. His job kept him busy, but home every evening to help with their growing family, now eight in size. After completing all the original building designs and a few others, the company decided to disband the architecture/drafting department and gave the entire area notice.
    This was a blessing and a curse for my dad. Having seen the writing on the wall he had been putting out feelers looking for new opportunities, but my youngest sister had been very ill at the same time and in and out of the children’s hospital a few hours away. She was not improving and the hospital was at a lost for what to do next. My mother spent many weeks with her away from the family and it was a tough time on us all. The medical costs were large, but thank heaven my dad’s insurance covered it, or I think we would have been out on the street in no time.
    The feelers paid off and my dad was interviewed and offered many positions around the country. One in particular he was very excited about, but we would need to move south and the family would be without insurance for the first few months of his employment. My sister did not improve, but a new doctor came to work at the hospital that was pioneering and new treatment for her condition. He told my parents it would take a few months to see improvement and many more visits and stays at the hospital for her.
    My father had a problem, he needed medical insurance for my family but he needed a new job also. He swallowed his pride and went to HR at his current company. He sold himself as an office manager, that being the only position they was currently opened. He knew it was not what he wanted to do, but he needed the insurance and thought once she was better he could continue his job search. The company hired him as the office manager with a small cut in salary, but full continuation of benefits.
    My sister was in and out of the hospital for the next few years, and my brother developed a brain tumor just as she recovered. My dad kept working as the office manager, but was able to chime in on building plans here and there with the outside firms the company contracted.
    Following several surgeries my brother fully recovered, but my father continued in his current position. My family was ingrained in the community at this time and no one wanted to move away. He retired at 59 years old with 30 years’ service. He never enjoyed being the office manager, but he was missed as they had to hire 3 people to cover his position.
    My father gave up his dream so my sister and brother would have the medical care they needed and our family could pay the bills. Having been retired for over 6 years now, he loves his free time and is in the process of designing a home for him and my mom. He is my hero!!!

  5. My hero is my daughter because she is a nurse and has a daughter with Spinal bifida. Rachel will turn two years old this Aug. My daughter gave of herself to have fetal surgery for her baby. She is so strong and if you check out her website you will see why. She is my hero! Read what the doctor told her when she first found out about Rachel having spinal bifida.

    The doctor began with asking questions regarding past medical histories of both of our families. He then told us the stats for downs syndrome with my “old maternal age”. He in a round about way asked what we would do if the baby had downs or another birth defect. We had stated that we would love the baby just like we love the girls. He then told us that the baby does not have downs but a different birth defect was present. He confirmed what I had originally thought during the scan- the baby has spinal bifida starting at the L4 level of her spine. He also stated she has a hind brain herniation and I finished his sentence by stating she has a Chiara malformation. (I also work as a medical assistant in the Chiara Clinic in our hospital once a week). We were also told the baby has started to show signs of clubbing in one of her feet. On the bright side, she has a normal appearing brain and no signs of hydrocephalus at this appointment. The doctor did give us more information on spinal bifida including the problems with bowel and bladder and the ability to ambulate. He also rescanned the baby for us and showed us where the spinal bifida was located and showed us the Chiari II and we were able to see that she was moving her hips and knees. We were also given information regarding fetal surgery to close the spine while in utero and information regarding closing the spine after birth. Either way the baby would need to be delivered via C-section at 34 weeks of pregnancy to prevent more damage from occurring to the spine as the space would getting smaller in the uterus as the baby grows. Both Steve and I were in instant agreement that we should try to have the fetal surgery done. The doctor informed us that the surgery was done at 3 locations in the United States – Philadelphia, Nashville and San Francisco. Since we wanted the surgery, he put in a referral to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. The doctor was very comforting and answered any questions we had- his bedside manner is very good.

    I was in such shock and despair after the ultrasound that I had a very difficult time holding myself together in front of the girls and for the fact I was at my place of employment. After the ultrasound I walked up to my nursing unit while Steve and the girls waited for me and I spoke with my supervisor regarding the ultrasound findings. She was very support of and it helped me to be able to talk with her. I requested a PTO day for the next day as I knew I would not be able to hold it together in front of the patients. As my family and I walked out of the hospital, we decided that were going to name the baby Rachel after a loved person in the bible. Steve drove us home but the normal drive from Milwaukee to West Bend seemed to have stretched on for hours. I was crying the whole time and he was wiping away his own tears- the girls were worried because they knew something was wrong but not what was wrong. We stopped by Steve’s mom (MaryEllen) to talk with her while we had the girls play outside. She knew the news was not good by looking at us and just held me while I was crying and Steve was telling her what was found. Being a RN she agreed that the fetal surgery was the best option and was very hopeful regarding the other issues such as the need to catheterize the baby and the use of braces. She had helped take care of her sister Jean’s baby that had been born with the spinal bifida and hydrocephalus but the medical advances (over 50 years prior) were not what they are today. When we got home I had called my parents and updated them- my dad was weepy as he had helped take care of his sister that was born with spinal bifida and remembered all that she went through- my mom was heartbroken also but very optimistic about the future for Rachel. Later that evening we did tell the girls that the baby has a injury on her back that she needs surgery for- we left it with as simple of an explanation that we could. They seemed to understand and were very excited to have Rachel in their lives (later that night and to the current date when they play dolls they already have one of the dolls named Rachel and always make her the hero of their play–very sweet)

  6. Christine Zaniboni

    My true hero is my daughter-in-law, Barbara. In 2004 both my sons were deployed to Iraq and Barbara was left home with my three year old grandson, Jonathan and the propect of giving birth to her second child alone. Barbara not only had her little girl, Genevieve, without her husband by her side, she ran the household and worked a full time job until she had the baby. My daughter, Melanie was there to hold her hand during the birth but of course it’s not the same as your husband. I think Barbara is one of the strongest women I know and I’m proud to call her family.

  7. Another hero I know is Toby, she is a women I visit each week who is home bound. Toby was married at 19 and finished her degree in mathematics as her 3 children came along. She worked off and on for the prison system, until her husband had a stroke at 40 (she was only 28) and was hospitalized for several months before passing away. She was left with 3 young children and only a small income.

    Depending on state assistance was not something Toby would allow, but knowing she needed more money to live on she took a full-time job at the prison and worked her way up. She worked and worked and one day they asked her to leave for the summer to study for her Master’s Degree down south. The state would pick up the bill and all she had to do was go. Go…with 3 children at home alone, that sounded impossible?

    Toby brought this up to the kids and they decided that with all of them working together and a bit of help from the neighbors they could do it. Toby left for three summers and even though the house was a wreck when she got back, she finished her degree and the kids survived her absence. She was promoted to warden and with the extra income she supported her family and put her children through college.

    It wasn‘t easy, but Toby thanks God everyday for the life she was blessed to live, all the wonderful experiences and her family. Her one daughter still talks about how proud she is of her mother’s decision to support the family, their summers alone and how they looked forward to mom coming back so they could have home cooked meals and stop eating sandwiches….she still hates sandwiches to this day. Toby is a true hero to her family, keeping a roof over their head and food in their tummies, even if it was sandwiches all summer long.

  8. Another hero I know is my sister. At 12 she was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. (This was before my younger sister became really ill.) Kris hated having diabetes and wearing a medical alert bracelet, she didn’t want anyone to know she wasn’t normal like everyone else. She thought this was the worst thing that could happen to anyone.

    Eventually she grew-up and learned to take care of herself never wishing this on another person. A few years after getting married she had her first child who was a girl. Everything seemed perfect until she was about 3. Her development stopped progressing and she seemed to go backwards. Kris tried to deal with it herself, but had to seek professional help as things kept getting worse. Her oldest daughter was diagnosed with Autism just as their 3rd daughter was born. This was a huge strain for my sister and her family, her husband was in school and not home much to help.

    Having found professional help Kris kept up with therapy and appointment for her oldest just to discover at a routine check-up that she not only had Autism, but had developed Juvenile Diabetes. Kris was sure this was the straw that would break her, but she kept working to help her daughter improve and grow as a person as she worked with her other 2 daughters as well. A few years later her oldest daughter was also diagnosed with Celiac and Hashimoto’s Disease as well. This about killed my sister, but with her 3 daughters depending on her she could not give up. She researched therapies and other treatments and made sure the doctors were aware of all the new research in all areas of her daughter’s issues.

    Her oldest is now 17 and doing well. She still has all the same issues, but with the help and dedication of her mother she is improving her social interaction and controlling her diabetes, Hashimoto’s and celiacs herself. Kris put her own needs on hold so she could help her daughter cope, so finally she was able to have another child adding a 4th daughter last year to her family. Kris is excited to watch all 4 of them grow-up while enjoying all the moments with each of them. Being a hero is always a choice and Kris made the choice to put her family first and foremost.

  9. Anna Patterson

    In 1995, my husband, Bill, a friend then, was riding in the back seat of the car with me. His mother and her husband were in front. Bill saw the car coming from behind. He threw himself over me and saved my life. The speeding car ran into us and demolished the back of our car. Bill and I married after that saying we would help each other recover. We could have been killed together, but we are married and love each other. He developed seizures from brain trauma and we have not been able no matter what to stop these. He has had a nurse since then. I admire Bill and he is my own personal hero. He said he never regrets saving my life.

  10. My heroes are my parents.
    When I was the single mother of six kids and couldn’t afford the rising rents in the area they bought me a piece of land and a singlewide trailer of my own on their credit. Since then I have made the payments, but they are the only reason my children and I had a stable home while they were growing up and why my kids still have a place to come back to when they need it. Thanks Mom and Dad.

  11. Robin Hillyer-Miles

    My heroes are Houston, my ten year-old son, and Layla, his seven year-old friend, and her mom, Vanessa.

    Layla’s daddy/Vanessa’s husband was in a terrible motorcycle accident yesterday morning on his way to work. He wore his helmet and his second-skin but a 16 year-old driver gunned his car in front of him trying to cross a four-lane highway and her daddy was thrown off his bike and into a side street.

    He had to be air-lifted from the accident. He has multiple injuries, including major road burn, a busted up face, a fractured skull and he is on a ventilator.

    His wife sits for my son on Thursdays. She is the bartender at the Navy Base golf course who loves my son … the feeling is very mutual. He makes me stop at the bar on the way home from school if he knows she is there so he can hang with her and have his after school snack. (Yes a bar. But they sell soft drinks and have popcorn.)

    For the past two years, every Thursday during the summer she’s kept Houston. My thought was she would bring her little girl, Layla, over and they would enjoy the pool since there is no pool on the base. But this year Layla spent three weeks with her grandmother and Vanessa STILL came over to hang with Houston. She took him to the Memphis Zoo, Pink Palace Museum and Mud Island.

    She and her husband are in their late 20s. He is in the Coast Guard. They are/were moving next week for their new duty station in Key West.

    First, I gotta tell ya, Millington, TN is a small town and Memphis is a small city.

    I first heard about a bad accident involving a motorcycle on Hwy 51 from Houston’s regular sitter. I’d forgotten to tell her Houston wasn’t coming there today and her husband texted my husband asking where he was. I called to tell them he was at home with Vanessa.

    Vanessa said she read about the accident on a friend’s Facebook page. She texted her husband to make certain he was at work. He didn’t answer. She kept trying to call and text him. She got a call from his work asking if he was coming in today. She told them there was an accident on 51 and she was afraid he was in it.

    The police called her and confirmed. She called the Coast Guard station to let them know. She then called me saying she was sorry but she can’t keep Houston today. Bless her heart, she’s so sweet. I told her I’d come home and watch Layla so she wouldn’t have that to worry about.

    I offered to drive her to the hospital, because she was shaking she was so upset, but she didn’t know where he was taken. A couple of his co-workers met her at her house to take her to the hospital.

    It was a rough day but I’m so proud of those two youngsters I could burst, or cry, or both.

    First, Houston has turned the amp up on his silliness to make Layla laugh.

    Second, everywhere we have gone people have said, “Your children sure are nice to one another.” When I explained they weren’t siblings they would say, “They must be great friends then, they are having fun together.”

    Then, Houston was resting against my car waiting for us to catch up on parking lot , and Layla ran up to him and gave him the full body slam with arms around his neck. When she released him, he turned to me, pumped his arm and said, “I got a hug!”

    In the car, I saw Layla pat Houston on the leg as I turned to back up. She said, “Thank you for trying to keep my mind off my daddy.”

    At times she would stop what she was doing and cry. He would get her a tissue and pat her arm. He said, “It’s okay to cry. You want to sit in my mom’s lap? She gives good hugs.”

    They went swimming and Houston pulled her around on a float, let her ride on his shoulders, and then on his back like a surfer.

    After she dried off from the pool, she came inside and said, “Why would Houston mess with my hair and then kiss his fingers and touch my forehead with them?”

    I’ve never seen him do this and I’ve never done this to him so I have no clue where it came from but it almost made me cry and I hugged her. And then, I told her that she means a lot to him and he loves her. She said we were weird. Ha! Yep.

    We took her home to wait for her grandmother and he spent the late hour (it was almost midnight) playing Barbi dolls with her.

    They give me hope for society and the future. They are my heroes.

    NOTE: Her daddy is stable but critical. If you read this far, please take a moment and send healing thoughts, positive energy, warm vibes to and/or light a candle, say prayers for (or whatever fits your belief system) a friend of mine and his family.

    And I have to add the Coast Guard family is awesome as well.

  12. Jaime Radalyac

    A hero.

    I would say my parents but I love them so there for they will always be my heroes.

    I could say my husband with everything he has been through, losing his biological father when he was 2 and then his stepdad when he was 28 which was how old his biological father was when he passed on. But Hes a hero to our son. To me he is a strong man and has continued on with life to make sure that both me and our son are taken care of.

    My real heroes are the survivors that life has dealt them and they overcome those battles. Cancer, Death, War, destruction.

    They give each of us all of us that small spark of hope that while yes things are bad right now, it doesn’t have to be bad forever. They give ME hope rather. My heroes could be everyone I have or haven’t met yet.

    The children who have cancer, their parents who are with them to make everything better. The parents who have cancer, their children who are with them to help make everything better. The ones that have already commented. The soldiers who are fighting for our freedom. The teachers who teach our children to prepare them for the world. Our best friends for having to deal with us. Our parents who gave us this life and to make something of ourselves. I could go on. EVERYONE could be a hero to ANYONE.

  13. Another hero is my mother, who almost never had a life. My mom is the 4th and youngest child in her family. Her 3 older siblings had no problems, and their birth was easy, perfect. My mother had numerous issues during her mother’s pregnancy. My mom was a premature baby, and very weak. My grandmother was told that they could not save the baby or the mother will die giving birth, or both will die if it is tried. Of course, no mother wouldn’t want to see their child brought into the world, so she went to go get another opinion from a different doctor. This doctor was much more helpful and said it is possible to have the baby (my mom) and save the mother.

    After my mother was born, she was diagnosed as anemic. She went a couple of years, growing up fine. But when she was about 3, she had to get a few blood transfusions. After that, she grew up mostly healthy. Until one uneventful evening when she was 7 and ate some bad fish that almost poisoned her. This fish had almost caused her to die because of the poison, but she was rushed to the hospital and the poison was taken care of. When she was about 10, her sister had contracted Tuberculosis. My mother caught it and became very ill. My mother spent days in her bed. Even now, because of her TB, when she coughs, her lungs don’t sound too great.

    When my mother was 11-12 years old. She and her family decided to move to America from South Korea. She came to America and everything was great and fine, excluding the fact that they did not have to much money and had to feed 6 people. But other than that, she was healthy.

    When she was in highschool. She was out with her friend. My mother was about to walk across the street when a truck came out of nowhere and almost hit her. Luckily her friend was there to pull her back. My mother likes to joke around saying that she is like a cat with 9 lives because of all her near death experiences.

    After that incident, nothing else life threatening happened. She grew up, got married to my father, and had 3 children (me as the youngest). My mother still takes iron pills for her anemia, has back pains, and gets sick once in a while. But is healthy otherwise, and I love her as my mother and my hero.

  14. Sarah Randle

    My hero is my friend, Jessica K. Despite suffering abuse as a child, she joined the military to make a difference. She deployed several times while she as active duty. She saw battle while she was deployed and suffered from PTSD. I met her in the hospital where we became friends. Jessica is the best friend I’ve ever had. She was there for me when I had no one and even went as far as to stay with me for several months during an extremely difficult period in my life. She took care of me and taught me how to hope and live again. I’ve never met a stronger person in my life. She has defied all the odds and now has her happily ever after with her husband and their new baby girl. Jessica is my hero.

  15. Jaime

    My hero is my mother. She grew up in a poor family, with 7 brothers and sisters. She had a hard life but she never let it get to her. She sometimes worked 2-3 jobs to make sure myself, my two sister and my brother had a better life than she did. She was always there when we needed something and I thought she would be around forever. However, that is not the case. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast/liver cancer in July of 2008. She passed on August 4, 2008, just 10 hours after I gave birth to my youngest child. Se was only 51 and she has missed out on so much. But no matter what I do in life or where I go, I always try to make her proud.

  16. Zeke Peters

    My hero is my Aunt Bonnie! She is a pediatrics nurse in the cancer ward of Mayo. I look up to her, because even with all her grand kids living here, and other family members living close by, she manages to find time to spend with them, and all the kids possible at the hospital! She never complains about being up all night, or having to work super late, or even not wanting to do something she knows she has to do. She has a deep love for every patient she has ever worked with, and breaks down just as hard when there is nothing she can do. She also connects with them, like spending her free time watching popular tv shows, or reading the new book craze! She commutes for hours every day and night, and works as many shifts as she can, so she can spend as much time as she can with the cancer patients. I admire her for her strength whenever she does lose one, because she pushes through so that all the rest are cared for too! She takes time to spend with all of us too, but never forgets a patient, who you could almost consider her own child! I am amazed by her love and devotion, and that is why she is my hero!

  17. maranda

    I would have to say my hero is my cousins daughter. She was born 14 weeks early and weight only 1lb and 10oz. When she was born she was only 10-12 inches long. We all were very surprised at how little she was. Being this little we were all scared as a family that she wouldn’t make it. She was so tiny. But on the bright side she was healthy. She was breathing on her own and everything. She was a fighter. As she grew they told her mom she would never walk or craw on her own. That they needed to put her into PT to help her. Her mother told her no she didn’t think she needed it. She was with her every step of the way and never gave up on her like the rest of the family didn’t. We all prayed and prayed that she would be fine. She got to go home from the hospital and when she did she was healthy. As she grew though she grew at the rate she would have been. At around a year she is still tiny. She is barely out of 3-6 months outfits. She got her first tooth and on mothers day she took her first steps. She is now walking. The doctors said she was glad her mom didn’t listen to them because she wouldn’t be doing as well as she is if she had. My cousin and her little girl are both hero in a different way. My cousin is because she never gave up even when it was hard to deal with. She always pushed her daughter to the max and did not treat her as she was a danger to her heart like most parents would when a baby is born that little and everything. There was many other babies born in there and some of them didn’t make it and some did but one thing that helped save my cousins little girl is her mommy. She never gave up hope or hid from her. She let her in her heart and never let go. I am lucky to have my cousin in my life to show me no matter what i go though with my kids i can do it. I am so proud of her and her little girl and how strong both of them are.

  18. Glenn J. Meade

    Hero’s I could mention a few that I have known. They did not think of themselves. My favorite hero. Is my Mother. Yes she is still with me. I thank God for that. My Dad took sick late 2005 or so. They found Cancer. They gave him six month’s to live. My Mom then had her hands full with looking after my Dad. The up keep on the mobile home. I helped out with yard work, etc. He lasted until Mother’s Day 2007. This is May 13th to be exact. Worse than that. I was there one early morning in March. I had lost my home to a foreclose. Sleeping there for a period of time. When she received a phone call. It had to be two or three in the morning. I will never forget her reaction. She just about dropped to the floor in tears and agony. I jumped off the couch. Asked what was the matter as she muttered in a crackly voice, Bobby’s Dead. This is my youngest brother. A good family man, twenty year Navy brat. I could not believe it either when I took the phone from her wrenched grip. It was my sister-in-law from Florida. He was in a motorcycle accident. So yes my hero is my Mother because she is a strong person. Busy with her church now. We have a Mass every year in they’re honor. Yes it still bothers her. The tears tell the story of that night I will never forget. I Love You Mom. God Bless and watch over you.

  19. Sue Peace

    My hero’s are my parents. My Dad always told me I could do whatever I wanted to do, he truly believed in the power of positive thinking and acting. When he got sick with brain cancer when he was 61, he really fought a good fight, he accepted the diagnosis but still tried to be positive and just try. Mum came with Dad to Canada in 1966, leaving with a heavy heart her family behind but willing to try for a different life and be with him. When he got sick, she showed her true strength, strength I didn’t know she possessed. She did everything she could for him, we all did, even things we might not have been comfortable with. She kept him at home and cared for him, refusing most help except for my sisters and I. It was a lot of work and took a big toll on her mentally and physically. When he died at 62, one year later (1996), she was not well herself and I feared losing her too when I was already so devastated. But she carried on, got the treatment she needed, and even though I know her heart was (and still is sometimes) heavy she kept living her life. When my Gran (her mother) was sick not even a year later requiring care, Mum once again stepped up to the plate and once again kept Gran at home, refusing to put her in the nursing home with poor care again, shared her room with Gran in a hospital bed, and let her die dignified and in a familiar setting. So these are my hero’s, real people, my parents.

  20. Amy S.

    My mom is my hero. I’ve had cancer 3 times. She’s always been there for me. She makes my meals and does anything she can to help me.she takes me to every doctors appointment. She takes care of my dad too and he has Alzheimer’s. She also babysits her grandchildren everyday. She is a supermom. She barely has time to do anything she wants to do. I really appreciate all that my mom does for me and my family.

  21. Wow, there are many courageous people in my life and it is difficult to point out just one, but I will tell the short story of a man I met through a family member. He is still with us and in his nineties, but this stout and compact little man was brave enough to live through the wars as a gunner in the tip of a bomber. He flew many missions we are told and he lived to see this modern world. He lives with a smile and pride even though he faced one of the most dangerous jobs every day as a young man. His size was his best weapon being agile and small enough to manouvre within the clear, terrifying and cramped quarters of the bomber nose. These men sat like sitting ducks while others shot at them. They relied on their pilot’s flying skills much of the time and played the roll of defender. They at times felt the burden of keeping everyone else alive and it was a job that not many lived through. Our friend now lives a quiet life, but to meet him, you can’t help but see the face of a ‘boy’ who risked his life in one of the most frightening environments anyone could work in. He is generous with his friendship and gives praise to those around him that have welcomed him into their lives. He was learning to paint and continues to be a man of true chivalry and kindness. It is a gift to us all that he survived because he makes us all realize that everyday challenges don’t have to beat us. He is a hero because he faced his ultimate challenge and lived to share his story with us. War heros should be placed upon a pedestal. Today we face grave disease and life issues that push our families to the brink of our emotional boundaries, but if we value life, we will value any amount of time we have with those we love, for there are those who are given only a moment and others who are chosen to live to remind us all to respect life itself. We just lost another young woman in our family to cancer. It is not fair to lose such a beautiful person, but I think about the courage our friend the bomber gunner had and I truly believe that he has lived to keep us all on track and focused when life pushes us. It is a blessing to have people like him and others in our lives; we just need to remember that. – In memory of those who have served and those who have lost their lives too soon.

  22. My hero is my daughter because she is a nurse and has a daughter with Spinal bifida. Rachel will turn two years old this Aug. My daughter gave of herself to have fetal surgery for her baby. She is so strong and if you check out her website you will see why. She is my hero! Read what the doctor told her when she first found out about Rachel having spinal bifida.

    The doctor began with asking questions regarding past medical histories of both of our families. He then told us the stats for downs syndrome with my “old maternal age”. He in a round about way asked what we would do if the baby had downs or another birth defect. We had stated that we would love the baby just like we love the girls. He then told us that the baby does not have downs but a different birth defect was present. He confirmed what I had originally thought during the scan- the baby has spinal bifida starting at the L4 level of her spine. He also stated she has a hind brain herniation and I finished his sentence by stating she has a Chiara malformation. (I also work as a medical assistant in the Chiara Clinic in our hospital once a week). We were also told the baby has started to show signs of clubbing in one of her feet. On the bright side, she has a normal appearing brain and no signs of hydrocephalus at this appointment. The doctor did give us more information on spinal bifida including the problems with bowel and bladder and the ability to ambulate. He also rescanned the baby for us and showed us where the spinal bifida was located and showed us the Chiari II and we were able to see that she was moving her hips and knees. We were also given information regarding fetal surgery to close the spine while in utero and information regarding closing the spine after birth. Either way the baby would need to be delivered via C-section at 34 weeks of pregnancy to prevent more damage from occurring to the spine as the space would getting smaller in the uterus as the baby grows. Both Steve and I were in instant agreement that we should try to have the fetal surgery done. The doctor informed us that the surgery was done at 3 locations in the United States – Philadelphia, Nashville and San Francisco. Since we wanted the surgery, he put in a referral to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. The doctor was very comforting and answered any questions we had- his bedside manner is very good.

    I was in such shock and despair after the ultrasound that I had a very difficult time holding myself together in front of the girls and for the fact I was at my place of employment. After the ultrasound I walked up to my nursing unit while Steve and the girls waited for me and I spoke with my supervisor regarding the ultrasound findings. She was very support of and it helped me to be able to talk with her. I requested a PTO day for the next day as I knew I would not be able to hold it together in front of the patients. As my family and I walked out of the hospital, we decided that were going to name the baby Rachel after a loved person in the bible. Steve drove us home but the normal drive from Milwaukee to West Bend seemed to have stretched on for hours. I was crying the whole time and he was wiping away his own tears- the girls were worried because they knew something was wrong but not what was wrong. We stopped by Steve’s mom (MaryEllen) to talk with her while we had the girls play outside. She knew the news was not good by looking at us and just held me while I was crying and Steve was telling her what was found. Being a RN she agreed that the fetal surgery was the best option and was very hopeful regarding the other issues such as the need to catheterize the baby and the use of braces. She had helped take care of her sister Jean’s baby that had been born with the spinal bifida and hydrocephalus but the medical advances (over 50 years prior) were not what they are today. When we got home I had called my parents and updated them- my dad was weepy as he had helped take care of his sister that was born with spinal bifida and remembered all that she went through- my mom was heartbroken also but very optimistic about the future for Rachel. Later that evening we did tell the girls that the baby has a injury on her back that she needs surgery for- we left it with as simple of an explanation that we could. They seemed to understand and were very excited to have Rachel in their lives (later that night and to the current date when they play dolls they already have one of the dolls named Rachel and always make her the hero of their play–very sweet)

  23. Cenneidigh

    Hero’s are made, not born. Anyone can care for themselves and those they love, but it takes something special to care for others, especially those who challenge you at every turn. A mental health practitioner in a public school is someone who works with youth who have needs both emotional and behavioral. The students my hero works with are 90% boys and this women, Beth, is 90 pounds soaking wet and yet she never shows fear, only compassion and strength. She works with 7-12th grade EBD (Emotional Behavioral Disorder) students in level 3 and 4 settings (less than 60 % of the day spent in mainstream classrooms.) She supports them in their educational pursuits, their goals and their lack of goals. She helps keep them on task and responds when they need to be removed from class for a break. Beth keeps her students working and growing even when they threaten and swear at her, she never holds a grudge and starts each day with a clean slate for all.

    Many of her students have said that she is the favorite adult in their life (reported to another) and many of those same students have yelled that they hate her right to her face (when they feel powerless with what is happening in their lives.) But, they know they can trust her and that she truly cares for them and will do anything in her power to help them succeed in life. Her job is tough and some days anything but rewarding. Beth is strong and not shaken by threats and knows that the words are coming from a place of pain her students are in from their disabilities and home lives. The workweek is 40 hours and yet Beth spends more like 80, with school hours, after school academy, summer school, concerts, sports events, IEP meetings, placement meeting and other activities she attends to support the students she works with. Beth can be found at all school activities as a supportive adult in all the students lives. She is a hero to many who don’t have one, anywhere else in their lives. Beth is a hero who will never have money or fame, but she will continue to care and help all the students she works with….their futures depend on having people like her in their lives.

  24. My hero was my mom when she pass my hero was gone me and my sister is my hero today

  25. My last one I promise, but I could not leave her out when I thought about all the other heros in my life.

    My mom is a hero to the seven of us. She moved across the country to support her husband while leaving her family and friends. She learned everything she could about juvenile diabetes when my sister was diagnosed at 12, she learned all she could about chronic pseudo bowel obstruction when my sister was 2 and almost died several times before she found the best doctor in the country to help her. Prepared to bury my brother, as he lingered in the hospital with a severe brain bleed following a stroke caused by a brain tumor wrapped around his brain stem at 13, she planned my other brother’s graduation party so as not to disappoint him. After much pray Mayo clinic found a doctor capable of operating saving my brother at the midnight hour, reliving my mother from her worst fear.

    She spent hours reading to us as children to find that two of her children had dyslexia and could not read. Time and money (they did not have) was spent on tutors and therapy to improve their skills. Each child was helped with homework and required to read and study an hour after school each day. She and my dad sent all 7 of us college and 6 graduated with a bachelors or higher degree. Her life has been spent raising children and helping others. Whenever I complained that I was depressed or upset about something she would tell me to go make cookies for someone in need. I must admit that I never feel sad or out of sorts when I am helping others who need more then I do. My mom always helped others even when she was in need of help herself. While sitting with my siblings in the hospital she would quilt, knit or crochet items for others in need. We had lots of babysitters when she was at the hospital with a child, a few hours away, for weeks at a time and she felt the need to pay all that help forward by helping others. We had strangers for dinner a few times each week and even took in a man needing a place to stay for a few weeks. I think about that now and can’t imagine doing that with my home. Giving was something that came natural to her making her a hero to many.

  26. Catherine

    There are so many touching and inspirational stories. Clearly there are a lot of true heroes out there!

    As an animal lover, my heroes are those who devote themselves to the care and rescue of abused, abandoned, and neglected animals. There are two women in my neighborhood who rescue, foster, and help adopt out dogs and cats who have suffered. Even though both women are retired (and of modest means), they have taken on this passion and calling as a full-time pursuit. They have spent thousands of dollars of their own money–traveling to pick up dogs, feeding, vet bills, , etc. They’ve both also raised money for the cause–to support area shelters, adoption projects, and other efforts (like getting pet oxygen masks on all fire trucks in the county). They get little recognition for what they do and often they get heartbreak–when an abused animal can’t be saved, for example…PLUS, they both have their share of scars from being bit and scratched by the animals they’re trying to help! The fact that they keep doing it, that they’re so passionate and indefatigable, is incredibly inspiring to me. Gisela and Jackie are my heroes!

  27. Kennedy

    My hero is my great grandma she has inspired me in many ways. When her husband died she thought it was all her fault because he didn’t want to stay in a nursing home but she didn’t want to leave they didn’t and later he had died. Then she had a stroke and she is in a wheelchair and she can barely even talk any more but 2 years ago when I saw her last she could say my name because she remembered my mom I guess she was her favorite she knew who I was but not who my grandma was so she doesn’t have very good memory. And that was three years ago and she is still alive and fighting. The reason she is my hero is she is still fighting her stroke and she is still fighting losing her husband but I love her and I don’t want to see her die.

  28. My hero is my 11 year old son who has autism. I am a 33 year old mother of 5 children and everyday my children inspire me in life to see what life is about. I struggled coming home from the military I was in the USN and thought that I would not connect with my children. But after being discharged I was wrapped in them. My son Rocky was 6 when he was diagnosed with autism and at first I was so sad researching everything. My husband and myself decided to pull him out of public school and homeschool. I began to see everyday growth and love. When I am sad he helps me he loves everyone unconditionally. Our family is so close and everyday is a new challenge but In my life not only have my children helped me love again they have made me have hope, bring me closer to God and given me a reason to see why this world is so beautiful. Rocky could be sad about having autism but there is never a day that goes by that I don’t see light in his face with a smile or laugh. He loves without boundaries or concern of others. He has a passion for learning and a understanding of how to explore the soul of everyone. Rocky and my children are my heros because I live to be their mother. I know my marriage is stronger everyday because their love spreads to us. I am so thankful to be a mom who stays home with her children. I am so thankful to be a wife. I am so thankful to be a veteran. My life is better because of them. More than they will ever know.
    My story is inspiration! Something as simple as being a wife and mother, can make you feel like its not simple at all! Thank you

  29. Charity L.

    My greatest hero is a dear friend who passed away just over 5 years ago. He had cancer 3 times and beat it twice. But there was never a more upbeat person and he was always a great encouragement. Many times he would be the one saying something to make me smile or laugh, and rarely ever did I catch him feeling down. This man will be someone I look up to for the rest of my life. If only to have his spirit.

  30. I know it’s implied to pick a different kind of hero from what we have seen in these books, but my hero (and a hero that represents all of us) is my dear friend from college, 1st Lt. David Johnson. You see, David was killed by an IED explosion last year in Afghanistan. David is, to this day, an example to us of what true courage and leadership consist of. He was very popular and loved by many because he had a such a heart for people. He was always so full of life and very involved within the community, and yet he carried a humility that set him apart. In a journal entry before he was deployed, he asked himself, “will I be good enough at leading soldiers? Will I be worthy of that responsibility? That honor?” He was so concerned about being a good leader, and he sacrificed himself, keeping the rest of his platoon safe.

    David has received a bronze star and purple heart. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery, but he is still living in our hearts, inspiring change. You can see that on the facebook memorial page we keep active, still: https://www.facebook.com/groups/332458553461732/

    Just recently, his parents passed a bill in Wisconsin to exempt soldiers from paying state tax, in his name.

    “No soldier goes overseas thinking they’re going to die, but none of them is oblivious to the fact that they might. It is good to remind ourselves that the freedom we enjoy isn’t free. It has cost many families a great deal—and it has cost some everything. Our veterans, reservists, active duty military personnel and military families deserve our thanks.” Our campus Pastor

    “We are very proud of our son. He is a hero. He first was a man of God. He has been a strong leader at Mayville High School, at Evangel University and to the men in his unit. David had no fear of adversity; he lived life to the fullest. There are no regrets. He is an American hero. We love him very much and miss him very much.” The Johnson Family

    David will forever be one of my heroes. I may never fully comprehend the courage and sacrifice of his actions, but I will forever be grateful for them.

  31. When I was 19, I almost died in a car accident that left me with a traumatic brain injury. But this story isn’t about me: it’s about my sister, who saved me in more ways than she’ll ever know.
    Even though the brain surgeon did a great job, he was honest when he told my family I had a less than 5 percent chance at survival. My family was devastated, but they pulled together and gave me all their love and strength.
    My younger sister, Jennifer, and I have been best friends since the day she was born—practically identical twins, finishing each other’s sentences, dressing and looking the same without meaning to. We shared everything, but I was slipping away from this world. The only thing I responded to in my coma before surgery was her singing to me: I squeezed her hand.
    To this day, I can’t imagine what it was like for her, at 17 years old, to almost lose the person who’d shared every moment of her life, one of the people she loved most in the world. It would have been easy to take a back seat, to leave responsibility for my needs to the doctors and nurses, to focus on school and other things normal seventeen-year-olds care about. But that’s not what heroes do, is it?
    Instead, she spent every moment outside of school at the hospital, barely sleeping. She rushed to my side when she got the call I was out of the coma, translating my rapid half–made-up sign language from our childhood to everyone else. She was my only line of communication with the world until I could begin speaking again, weeks later. And because I couldn’t move or see, she did everything for me, including climbing into the hospital bed to tweeze my eyebrows when I was feeling unkempt.
    She ate dinner out of a Ziploc bag on the floor in the kitchen by herself after visiting hours ended, on nights when my parents stayed overnight with me. When it came to my food, she asked the nurses to teach her how to use the feeding tube so she could reconnect it when I needed it, as well as how to feed me ice chips when I was allowed. She wore neon shirts to the hospital to try to help me remember things day-to-day. She flapped her hand like a butterfly around me to help my eyes focus again.
    But she didn’t stop helping me after I got done with the hospital. It was miraculous how much I had recovered—I could walk a little, eat on my own, speak—but there was so much more that I needed, things a hospital couldn’t fix. Things only a sister could do.
    She told me I was beautiful when half of my head was shaved, my eyes were crossed, and my body was emaciated. She proved it to me when she styled my hair, picked out clothes, gave me her cool sunglasses, and took pictures of me the way she saw me. She put a napkin in her own glasses so I wouldn’t feel alone when people stared at my eye patch, right after she yelled at them for being insensitive. She taught me to laugh when I got food in her hair, when I said something the wrong way; she taught me not to be ashamed, only proud of how hard I was trying and how truly lovable I was.
    Jennifer went with me to college; it was her first year and my restart of my second. She kept helping me and encouraging me to blossom. And blossom we both did.
    Now, seven years later, I’m pretty much fully recovered, and I’m following my dreams as a writer. We both graduated, and I now have my M.A. in Writing & Publishing, too. But most importantly, I still have my sister, my best friend. We are back to finishing each other’s sentences and being equally helpful to each other (or so I like to think). I couldn’t have recovered without her. My sister wasn’t a normal seventeen-year-old when I had my traumatic brain injury; she was my hero, and she always will be.

  32. Through the years of my life. My father has always been the man stood around me. Not being a dictating person, instead he just always there in my trouble times.

    One thing i still remember, among so many others. It was when he fell ill, suffered from a very bad arthritis. So terrible that all came to my mind was, he going to pass away. That is the most fearful, in such anxiousness and worries that i can only expressed in hidden tears and sad poetry. I clearly felt it, i was not ready if God took away his life.

    He went through what he had suffered well, that is one certain thing that i have learned from my old man, he always had it. The spirit of life.

  33. Roger Lee

    In early 1998, during the course of a routine annual check-up, my wife’s doctor said, “Your white count is a little high.” That started a roller coaster of a time for her (and us). She was 36 and perfectly healthy and was referred to a hematologist. After a few initial tests, the doctor said, “It’s probably nothing and it’s definitely not leukemia.” Eight months later, by herself in the doctor’s office, he told her it WAS leukemia. I’m still in awe of the way she handled the news and the whole process. Within 3 months she was scheduled to have a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). We travelled to several hospitals and I can say that I was scared to death…going to BMT wards, talking to nursing staff, hearing at some hospitals that they have a 40% survival rate for the procedure. My wife was clear-headed, practical, and thoughtful through the whole thing and on December 14th, 1998, she checked into Emory University Hospital for her BMT. She received lethal does of chemo for that week–to kill her own white blood cells–and then on Dec. 21st received bone marrow from her brother. I had to continue to work–we needed the money, especially at this time. Through all of the side effects of the procedure she kept a positive, upbeat attitude–even when the transplant patients in the rooms on either side of her both passed away. My wife progressed at a hero’s pace. She was confident enough to accept a speaking engagement at a conference in Canada scheduled for late April 1999…even though she knew that she’d still be bald! Her recovery was remarkable and pretty textbook. To this day, almost 15 years later, she still talks to other leukemia patients and their families about the procedure and encourages them on “survival strategies.” She is my hero!

  34. As a former Army “brat” who spent my childhood living on military bases, my heroes are all the soldiers I have known…men very much like Lt. Freddie Williams in ALONG THE WATCHTOWER. It is very difficult to describe to the civilian world what these soldiers sacrifice and what their families go through on behalf of their country. My family was very blessed because my father never had to go to war, but we still moved 12 times in 20 years and experienced long periods where my dad was absent. Many military families have it a lot harder and yet I have never witnessed a more tight-knit, supportive community. My heroes are the men and women of the Armed Forces, especially those who have been wounded and left with disabilities, yet still continue inspiring others with their lives of service, leadership, and honor.

  35. dlitwack

    Posted for Gwen:
    I have been fortunate to have had several heroes pass though my life. All have made an impact. However when asked, “Who is your hero?” one particular name comes to mind…Jane Tenbroeck. Mrs. Tenbroeck was my afterschool tutor and a substitute teacher at the elementary school I attended .
    I really struggled in school due to dyslexia. In the early 70s schools did not know what to do with children who “seemed smart” but did not perform to grade level. By the time I was in 3rd grade I had been asked to leave one exclusive private school and begged my parents to leave the second to join my neighborhood friends in the public school.
    I was grade levels behind in math and reading however my vocabulary well exceeded my grade. I was completely miserable. As a matter of fact even thinking about it makes me well up to this day… I was placed in the “resource room” (known as the “retard room” to fellow elementary students). When I looked around the classroom I felt completely alone. I was in a classroom with kids with significant learning issues like down syndrome and mental retardation…
    Enter Jane Tenbroeck…Mrs. Tenbroeck was old ,small of frame and seeming fragile. She wore big clunky shoes and limped a bit due to her childhood bout with Polo. Even the “bad” kids listened to her . She was kind as well as stern. She expected good behavior and respected the kids , in return they repaid her with respect. I took a liking to her. My mother made arrangements for me to get tutored 2 times a week after school at her home. I did that for 5 years. She became my 3rd Grandmother.
    You see, not only was Mrs. Tenbroeck fascinating because she had traveled the world limping around in those clunky shoes ,but she understood what it felt like to be frustrated ..struggling to perform to your ability. Her challenges were physical but we understood each other…She made me work …Although I am sure I whined a bit I was grateful. She always respected my intelligence and challenged me by giving me assignments that involved reading Scientific American, The Smithsonian Magazine and National Geographic. They were great choices because of the beautiful and graphic photos that accompanied the articles.
    I will never forget the summer she gave me a research paper on Dyslexia. That made the best impact on me. I gathered data and together we organized it in a format that would read clearly. We learned so much together.
    By the end of 7th grade I was at grade level and even was being considered for Honors English. We lost that battle but by the time I was in High school the school was able to wrap their minds around the fact that I was capable of an Honors Lit class.
    I majored in English Communications and even attended Graduate level Education classes. All the while Mrs. Tenbroeck and I wrote letters to each other. We shared our struggles and as she began to deteriorate due to age she shared that with me as well.
    A year went by and we had not communicated. I was engaged to be married and busy with my new adult life. One day I received a letter from her daughter who explained that she had passed away. The daughter had not thought to contact me but then had found a stack of letters she had saved from me over the years and wanted to reach out to me and tell me how much I had meant to her…Funny because I saved all of her letters too….

  36. To me the unassuming humility and lack of need for recognition are key components in the true stoic nature of a hero. With that in mind I decided to share the story of a hero that I barely know and thus can remain anonymous.
    In 2006 we spent spring break in a resort on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. It was the last time-share available to us for exchange; as we made very last minute plans. Guatemala was not a country we ever imagined we would visit and the reputation of extreme poverty and crime did, I admit, made us think twice.
    We fell in love with the culture, the food and the lovely people; most especially the Mayan Indians. One evening my husband and son were playing pool in a recreation area of our resort when a small gentleman entered the lounge. The place was full of locals and he was welcomed as “Don Amador” and treated it seemed to me as an observer with the pomp reserved for men of great importance.
    He sat near me and order an after dinner drink. His accent was strong and very obviously from somewhere in Spain.
    “You apparently vacation here often.” Was the way I decided to approach the man, frankly curious why ‘a gentleman’ would choose this out of the way place. His answer and his story both surprised and inspired me.
    He was from a mining town somewhere in Northern Spain. When I asked if he was a mining Engineer he grinned and in a very self-deprecating manner referred to himself as a ‘mere mole’. He explained he was so low in the totem pole of mining that he had spent most of his life underground, digging.
    He had retired a few years earlier. He had chosen never to marry; this because he felt he could never provide the loving attention or economical safety a wife and family deserved.
    The year before he retired he saw a TV commercial, asking for the commitment to send a monthly contribution to sponsor a child in need, somewhere in the world. He dialed and committed. He promised himself to be much more than a monthly check.
    As fate would have it, he got a child in a Spanish speaking country, which made it very easy for him to communicate. Every year he visited the little boy in his small-town, and all the photographs he took back, to his own simple mining town excited a tremendous generosity amongst the miners and their families.
    He had huge boxes full of supplies for the entire town. In 2006 he was particularly excited. The young boy he sponsored was finally old enough and big enough to fit into his old soccer sporting gear.
    It was so touching to listen to this unassuming man express how delighted he was to be opening the door to his love of soccer to the kids in that town. To describe the pencils, blackboards and other teaching supplies his town had gathered.
    It was very clear that all year long his days in Spain were spent finding ways to make the two weeks a year in Guatemala as productive and as helpful as they could possibly be.
    I listened and had to say “Señor usted es un heroe” (sir you are a hero) he smiled and answered that he was no hero, he was a very fortunate man who had found such a worthwhile life after retirement.
    Since 2008 when CNN started the hero competition, I think of “Don Amador” and the amazing impact the ‘mere mole’ as he called himself has had in so many people on both sides of the Atlantic. Those in Spain who have tapped into their great generosity whilst I can only assume leading very simple lives themselves and the people of that small Guatemalan town whose lives have been so enhanced and broadened.

  37. jennifer mathis

    my kids are my heroes . i have been sick alot lately and they always pick up the slack around the house without complaint
    meandi09@Yahoo.com

  38. joesph

    My hero is my older brother Gunnar! He has inspired me to try new things, he is on a mission right now helping the people of northern Chile. He has taught English, he has helped rebuild homes that were lost in a fire, he baptized me which is one of the reasons I am writing about him. He had to learn Spanish and when I grow older I want to teach people about the gospel like he does. He had a hard time at first and was really homesick, but he worked through it and now loves it in Chile and wants to keep teaching, helping and meeting the people. I am looking forward to him coming home and I hope to grow up to be just like him. When I go on a mission I know Gunnar will help me when I am having a hard time. I’m about to turn 12 and I look forward to being like my older brother and doing what he is doing by giving up 2 years of his life to the service to others.

  39. Faith bates

    My hero is my best friend. She survived having cancer and still managed to be a mom to her five girls. I know the treatments and surgeries were horribly hard on her but through it all she kept fighting for her kids. She’s been in remission for a few years now and has since dedicated her life to working with her local Relay for Life and helping honor people in her community that fought cancer and won their fights as well. It amazes me her commitment and the strength she lends them all when they are having rough days and when they the about everything they went through. She is my hero and she amazes me daily with her compassionate spirit.

  40. My hero is my mother. This is probably a very cliched answer, but it’s true.

    When I was just a few months old, I fell very sick with pneumonia. I had to get admitted, and the doctors weren’t very hopeful about my recovery. My mother was the one who had to stay with me, deal with the doctors, listen to their diagnoses and predictions, because my dad was at home with my elder sister who was then a toddler. My mum took care of EVERYTHING in those days I was in the hospital. I scraped through, but that wasn’t the end of the ordeal.

    Throughout my childhood, until I was almost 10, I would often fall sick. By the time I turned ten, I had pneumonia 5 times. All through those days, it was my mother who managed everything, from my going to the toilet to entertaining and consoling me. I would often get scared and start crying, and even through her fears and tears, she would stay strong for me. Naturally, being cooped up in a sterilized room at the hospital made me cranky more often than not, but she put up with all of that as well. The last time I got it, the doctor said they would have to cut out 10% of my lungs. My mother was alone at the time, and was devastated. But still, she stood her ground and refused to allow them to take that step, since it also involved a considerable amount of risk.

    I am ever grateful to my mother for all that she did for me in those times. Having to take care of a hyperactive child who doesn’t understand she’s sick, another toddler at home who was equally naughty, and run a family was definitely a tough job, but my mother pulled it off marvelously. And for that, she will always be my hero.

  41. MaryAnn Koopmann

    Wow, my hero is all these wonderful people here on this site telling their stories of heroes for all of us to share and learn by to do good in everyday life. Their are many heroes in the world we just need to open our eyes to see all them. People that have gone thru many awful things yet still rise from them. These are the true heroes. They all teach us to have faith and help people in any way that we can. You too are a hero to bring a chance for us to tell you our story and share with the world all these good deeds done by different people. I can only learn through reading these wonderful stories and sharing them with people I know to pass on the hope and faith of others. Thank you for giving us all a chance to spread the word of good deeds. Many Blessings to all.

  42. MaryAnn Koopmann

    My hero is my friend Sean. He has taught me what it means to have hope and you can find heroes in everyday life. The emotional effects of child abuse and abandonment. And gave me both a realistic picture of the damage done and reason to hope. Hot-headed, confused, and fiercely defensive, 15-year-old Sean is easily drawn into fights at school and then tangles with the law. What he is not telling anyone is that his alcoholic mother has been taking out her frustrations on him, physically as well as emotionally. Sean is sentenced to community service at a horse farm. Under Mr. Miller’s steady hand, the boy experiences, and sometimes resists, the structure and guidance for which he has hungered. When he assists at the birth of a foal that bonds with him, Sean discovers the rewards of attachment and trust, as well as the responsibility of caring for a young creature. However, patterns of distrust, violence, and isolation cannot be overcome in one week of community service. Sean is tested, fails, and emerges to try again, all the while gaining a sense of personal responsibility for his future. In places the plot is contrived; the foal is rejected by its mother, providing an oh-so-obvious substitute on which Sean vents his rage. Also, a concerned teacher keeps showing up at all the right moments to cheer the young man on. Nonetheless, Sean gave me a convincing and difficult protagonist and a fresh perspective on what it means to be a hero.

  43. LL

    Those people who perform small acts of kindness in our lives are everyday heroes to us all. We all have the chance to be a hero in others lives as they do in ours. One women I know sends small amounts of money in anonymous Christmas cards to those she knows are in need and yet anyone looking from the outside would think she was in need also…but she feels she is blessed everyday and wants to pay those blessing forward. I believe that if we believe that what we have is enough then we are in a place able to help and support others….but if we are always looking to add to what we have then there is never enough for us or anyone else and we cease to perform small miracle in others lives.

    Heroes are unselfish individuals that see need in others and respond with love and support. A hero may only comment how nice you look on a day where nothing has gone right…little things like that can improve your outlook and allow you now think of others in need and act accordingly. Who can use your kind words today…your support, your smile? You can be a hero anywhere and anytime, look for those moments where your tender mercies can mean all the difference to those you know and even those you don’t.

    Heroes are not larger than life they are just you and me.

    • MaryAnn Koopmann

      Well said and I agree!

  44. Tina M

    My heroes are my Husband and children. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I need all the help I can get. They are always there for me for everything I need done. Even my Grandchildren are here to help Grandma Tina. They are my little Heroes!!

    • MaryAnn Koopmann

      Tina, I too have arthritis and know what you are dealing with everyday. Blessings to all.

      • Tina M

        Thank You!!

  45. Without a doubt, my dad MSG Dana Rappe’ (retired) is a hero to me. At 17 he decided not to wait until he turned 18 to be drafted for Viet Nam. Instead he got his dads concent and enlisted in the army. He did three tours in Nam. All volunteer tours, never being told he had to go. He said “If I go, that is one mans child, or brother or a childs dad that does not have to. If I die in Nam, that man didn’t have to.” He stayed in the military until 5 years ago when he came home from an 18 month tour in Afghanastan. His sense of duty left such an impression on my two brothers and I that we all enlisted. My older brother and myself serving 8 years each with a great deal of overseas time, and my younger brother who is now a warrent officer in the army and has also been overseas several times. This is why he is a hero to the country.
    He is a hero to me because throughout all of his deployments, and the awful things he has seen, he remained gentle. He was a loving father who always made sure we had dicipline, but also that we knew how loved we were. He was role model as a husband as well. right up until 3 years ago when my mother passed away he treated her with love and respect, and honesty. I have a wife who loves me because he taught me how to act with/around people. He also helped to fund my needs as I wrote the first of what I hope will be several novels. After funding its creation he also purchased the first 20 copies. He said that they were for his friends. I recently found almost all of them in a closet at his house. To me that is a fathers support the way it should be and the way I hope to support my sons dreams.
    There are a great many other ways I could list such as the fact that I have seen him save lives with CPR more than once, Jump into a lake to save a child who was drowning, etc. These things make him a hero to those people and their families. The other stuff is why he is a hero to me. Thanks for the opportunity to share this with you, and the reminder to tell my dad how much I love him!

  46. Julie Solorio

    My hero is my mom. When I was a few weeks old my older brother was diagnosed with cancer at three years old. A year later he died. As a mother myself now I can’t even comprehend the suffering that was endured during that year. My mom is also a nurse who works in the newborn intensive care nursery. The fact that she worked to help babies get well while he own baby could not is honorable and amazing. I grew up running into families of NICU graduates that my mom took care of. We were stopped constantly in the grocery store or wherever we were to listen to families say how much my moms care of their baby meant. I can’t imagine how it felt for her to see these babies that were so sick as toddlers, kids, teens and even a few adults! I am so proud of the work that she does and the angel that helped her to see the value of healing through helping others.
    The second reason my mom is my hero is this: while it wasn’t easy for my mom to nurture a baby (me) while her first born died she did her best. After my brother died she was rightfully very angry and sad. What she wasn’t ever was a bad mom. She always let me know I was loved and she and I have a strong bond and a great relationship. She taught me the importance of laughter, even (or especially) if its only laughing so you don’t cry. She taught me how to be a good mother and I am proud today when people compliment me on my parenting to simply say, I learned from the best. <3 Julie

  47. My hero is my mother, who doubles as my best friend. When I was two she was diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer. She had a mastectomy, and underwent chemo and radiation for months, all while she took care of her ill self, and a wild two-year-old as my dad was too immature to handle her illness and I was too young to understand. She survived, thankfully, and for the next few years, things were better. When I was seven, she found out that her cancer had spread to her spine, her L5 and T2 to be exact. Again she struggled through weekly sessions of chemo and radiation. I watched as my mom cried while my aunt shaved her head, and listened from downstairs as my dad tried to sooth her as she got sick in their bathroom. Still, she did her best to save me from the brunt of it. Cancer was not something I understood. All I knew was my mom was really ill. She battled the disease and came out on top. We thought it was over as until I was thirteen, there were no signs of the cancer. It was just before Christmas while I was in eighth grade when she started getting horrible headaches that lasted for days and kept her home from work. After her boss found her passed out from the pain and sent her to the hospital, the doctors told us that the cancer had returned in the form of a brain tumor. At this point in my life, I knew that cancer was deadly and that there was a high chance that I was going to lose my mom. Through it all, my mom’s thoughts were only of me. My parents had been divorced for several years and my dad had moved across the country. Mom and I had bonded beyond being mother and daughter–we had also become friends. She was the most important person to me, and as her child, I to her. She never allowed herself to be scared in front of me. She stayed strong because she didn’t want to frighten me. She made sure that I was safe, and as happy as I could be while away from her. Again she survived, but she was unable to return to work and daily activities have been a struggle ever since. She had another scare a few years ago, when I was in high school, but my mother is a survivor. Even though it has returned and threatened her life several times, she has been brave through it all. She hasn’t blinked in the face of death and is the strongest women I’ve ever known. She puts others before herself ALWAYS, even when she’s on her deathbed. Her first thought was of me, and how she wanted me to be happy, healthy and just a generally good person. She battled a killer disease, and continues to do so to this day. She will never been completely cured, nor will she ever be able to be as she once was. She’s lost her hair permanently, she’s going blind and was just diagnosed with Lupus, so she has trouble walking and getting out of bed everyday. But she does, she’s not letting this get her down. She’s making the best out of life, because she knows better than anyone that life is short and you need to make the most out of life while you can. She’s my hero because she’s taught me the most important lessons in life, and survived an illness that kills many–and beat it multiple times.

  48. My heros have always been Lucille Ball and my grandmother. Lucille Ball is a hero because she accomplished so much. She had a flourishing career and owned her own business at a time when women did not have much power. Her husband was a serial cheater and yet she lived with it. In the end, she rose above it. She was a single mother with a career, and a successful business. Her life says you can do anything.

    My grandmother also had her own business back in the 1950’s. Her husband left her and their two kids for another woman. She still managed to keep a house, raise the kids, and she had a wonderful career working for a publishing company – paid to read books and sell them. She went on to set foot on six continents and saw 60+ countries in the world. At one point, she had cancer. She persevered. She was happy and did not complain.

    These are women to look up to. That you can follow your dreams, work hard, and can achieve despite difficult situations.

  49. LL

    My neighbor was a hero to family, he always came to the rescue of my children. He oiled swings, he changed flat tires on their bikes, he had snacks they loved available after school, he treated them for good grades on their report cards and he even helped fix the lawn mower or snow blower when one of my sons was out trying to figure out what was wrong with it. Harlan was his name and he and his wife treated my children like their own grandchildren. They lived in the house between mine and their own son and his family. Two of his sons kids matched my kids age and they all played together after school and on breaks. It was like a little bit of utopia between our three back yards.

    Harlan and his wife were retired and enjoyed traveling, but every time they got home he said that the next trip would be shortened due to his missing all the kids surrounding his home. Harlan was hard of hearing and yet he seemed to know what the kids wanted and needed whenever they were around or just in the yard wondering how to get a kite or kitten out of a tree. He showed them how to build items out of wood in his garage and loved to buy whatever they were selling. When any of them had news they would race over to tell him.

    One day I was out trimming some bushes between our yards and Harlan came out telling me how much he enjoyed my children and how one of them always wore his heart on his sleeve. He was worried about my son due to his soft heart. Harlan told me he has helped him put a nest back in a tree because my son had been sobbing when he found the little bird and a broken egg, in the fallen nest. Harlan had found a ladder and put the nest back in the tree it had fallen from. My son had sat and watched that nest until he was sure the mommy bird had come back to care for the baby, he then run to Harlan’s house and dragged him out to see. Harlan had come of course and my son thought of him as grandpa, his one grandfather living far away.

    Harlan knew of my love of reading and seemed to show up whenever I was looking for another book to read. We shared our favorites and when he and his wife were gone on trips I started to miss our conversations. But they never stayed away long and my kids always waited impatiently for their return. A large window in my family room looked out on the yards and my kids would take turns watching the driveway when they knew it was Harlan’s day to return from a trip. They would run out to greet him and his wife and receive a little token they had brought them each home.

    One day we received a call and my neighbor tearfully reported that Harlan had passed away while visiting one of this children in Texas. I cried and stood there shaken, I knew he was getting older, but gone…was it possible? I now faced the awful task of telling my children the news. I discovered a few minutes later, when my bird nest son came tearing in the house tears streaming down his face, that I didn’t have to break the news. He fell into my arms and cried while he told me what one of Harlan’s grandchildren had told him. I held him while he cried and cried. His tears brought my other children into the kitchen and we all talked about what had happened. My five children were devastated and at a loss for what to say or do. We sat on the floor until one of them said we needed to take something to eat over to Harlan’s family because that is what you do when someone dies. We decided on KFC since that was a family favorite. Taking the food over felt like a hike as we crossed the yard knowing that Harlan was not coming home ever again. The kids were still lost at what to say as we left the food with the grieving family.

    A few days later at the viewing my children in their best clothes hugged and cried with Harlan’s family and at the funeral we stood with them all holding hands as the VFW shot off the 21 gun salute for Harlan and his military service.

    My children loved Harlan and he loved them. He was a hero to all of them with his acts of kindness and caring. Harlan is still missed everyday…just yesterday one of the swings was squeaky and one son smiled saying, “I wish Harlan was here, I really miss him every time I hear that swing squeak.” No one has fixed it and it has been 2 years now..I think we all want to remember Harlan whenever we hear it squeak, those memories and just knowing Harlan has been a great blessing to us all.

  50. A personal hero of mine was actually a stranger I never met, but whose simple act of daily kindness not only impacted my life, but that of an entire city.

    In the fall of 1990, I was a college junior attending the University of Memphis. One morning while driving from my apartment to campus for class, I noticed an older gentleman with his dog, standing at a very busy intersection. He had the most beautiful smile, and he waved to the cars as they passed by.

    “Oh that’s nice.” I thought as I waved back and continued on my way to class. However, the next morning, the gentleman and his dog were back, at the exact same street corner, at the exact same time, with the same brilliant simile, waving.

    What I soon learned was this man had routinely stood on the corner of that intersection each weekday morning, smiling and waving to complete strangers, for years.

    His name was John E. Martin, and he became not only an inspiration to me, but to the entire city of Memphis. He was affectionately known as the Memphis “Waving Man.” He captured the attention not only of the local media, but The David Letterman Show caught wind of his unusual demonstration of kindness. He was invited to appear on the program.

    When asked about his motivation, he simply said “Now, a smile and a wave are contagious…”

    Indeed they are.

    People would honk their car horns in approval and wave back. Strangers would stop and bring him a cup of coffee on frigid winter mornings.

    Mr. Martin came to symbolize the spirit of friendship for an entire city . I know he most certainly did for me. I struggled financially to put myself through college, and sometimes the pressure would wear on me. But when I saw Mr. Martin standing at his post (as I like to refer to it), seeing his brilliant smile and tireless wave never failed to lift my spirits.

    If Mr. Martin missed a day, concerned citizens would flood the local media and his family with calls, inquiring if he was okay. Complete strangers came to care deeply for this extraordinary man. I know I was one of them. Sadly in early 2001, at the age of 95, Memphis lost its waving man.

    Though I no longer reside in Memphis, I still think of Mr. Martin quite often. The fact he brought out the best in an entire city with just his genuine smile and wave makes him forever a true hero in my book.

  51. Karen Arrowood

    I think we all have people in our lives that we see as heroes, and they are often our own family members. I see my mother as a hero…. she was the second of 7 kids, helping to raise her 5 younger siblings on a farm in Iowa and then Wyoming. She left college after just two years because she got married and got pregnant (with me), and then essentially raised 2 kids on her own, My dad was a petroleum engineer, working 9 days on and 2 off for years and years. We moved from state to state a lot, leaving Mom with no support system. She went back top college when my brother and I were in grade school, and became a teacher. My parents divorced after 30 years of marriage, and mom went on to find a marry a lovely man (10 years younger than herself!). She was very happy, running a bed and breakfast and being influential in her small community. Unfortunately, a series of disasters occurred, and she ended up losing the B&B, which was also her home. She and her husband have also had a series of health problems, while having little to no health insurance. They are both working, trying to pay off debts and become solvent again. My mom is 68 years old, working 30 hours a week, and living with her 80-something year old mother-in-law and taking care of her. She has ongoing health issues, and is in pain virtually every day. And yet, she is the most cheerful, outgoing person I have ever known. She never complains about anything, and has the best glass-is-half-full attitude, always seeing the bright side to everything. She CHOOSES to be happy! She lives 8 hours away from us, but makes time to come and visit her grandchildren several times a year, as well as sending them emails and texting with them almost every day. She is a stellar example of how to live a purposeful, fulfilling life. Words are not enough to express how blessed I am to have her in my life.

  52. Karen Arrowood

    Many of my family, and my husband’s family live in Moore, Oklahoma – which has been devastated by tornados several times in the last few years, most recently on May 20, 2013. There are so very many unsung heros there, I feel I need to to bring them to everyone’s attention. While my family has been fortunate, with only one family member’s home receiving significant damage in the last tornado outbreak, so many other people lost everything. We have some friends, Dennis and Angela, that had their house leveled. They have 2 little girls, ages 2 and 4, and were left with literally the clothes on their backs. Yet, even though they are having to start completely over, they have been donating part of what they have been given to families that lost their homes in the tornado the occurred in Shawnee, Oklahoma (destroying 140 homes) the day before the Moore tornado! That, to me, embodies the heart of a hero.

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