Muhammad Ali. Prince. Bretagne, the 9/11 search dog. We’ve lost quite a few heroes lately, which got me to thinking, what does it mean to be a hero? How does one become a hero? Who is your hero?
As a kid my heroes were my parents, grandparents and my next door neighbor George, who kept me safe from my big sister and his son Jon. When I was being picked on by said sibling and her sidekick, all I would have to say is “George, they’re picking on me again” and he would lift me to the safety of his workbench in the garage. I still remember the disappointed looks on their faces when they tracked me down and discovered I was now untouchable.
As I got older, my list of heroes grew, and I began to understand and appreciate the sacrifices these individuals made for the greater good. I tried as best I could to emulate those qualities and teach my children to think of others first and not always themselves. I would never consider myself a hero, but in some small way if I can have a positive influence on someone else, it’s a start.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and ethnicities, some human, some not, but all have the power to influence. They may live next door or half way around the globe. We may know them personally or only know of them through their efforts. And there are some heroes we may never know about, who avoid the limelight and quietly go about their lives working to improve the lives of others.
I saw George a few months before he passed away and sadly, he no longer recognized me. Illness had robbed him of his health and memory. But I remembered, and he will always be one of my heroes for coming to my rescue. RIP George.