Behind the Limelight
By Jim Kuiken
Everyone seems to know who a Hero is. Not a sports figure, movie star, politician or anyone like that…those aren’t Heroes. They may be celebrities, but they’re NOT Heroes. A hero is:
But we’re not talking sandwiches here… I’m talking Hero, with a big “H”.
Lots of heroes are obvious. Look at the list of those who’ve been awarded the Medal of Honor. Those folks are the very definition of Heroes! Firefighters who have lost their lives saving others. Police and law enforcement officers/agents giving their all, sacrificing themselves to protect us and our way of life. There are MANY obvious Heroes…and you can see portraits (and read their stories) here on Hero Portraits (just click on the service emblem or badge at the top of the web page).
Of course there are those who play heroes, that many young boys and girls (and men and women…) look up to, who epitomize the morals, courage and determination that we look up to as heroes. ‘They are not real heroes, but they played one on TV’…(or the movies, etc.), and may end up imparting those values to us, helping us all be a bit better.
But what about those who don’t share the limelight of obvious heroism? The ones who work quietly in the shadows, not in the sharp glare of public view.
For every dashing firefighter or courageous police officer, there is a nurse back at the ER waiting for that patient – and who dedicate their lives to saving others, even though they suffer deeply for each one they can’t.
For every nurse on the front lines of saving and caring for patients, there is someone in the lab, working on blood samples to identify the one critical factor that the doctor can use to turn that patient around. The EMTs and Paramedics that rush out to help stabilize and transport the injured or sick to those doctors and nurses, giving comfort and hope along with medical assistance. Even a Judge, sitting on the bench and sentencing lawbreakers…but who does so with understanding and compassion. Anyone can be a hero, to someone!
What about those quiet souls who see a need, like Veterans who are committing suicide at a rate of 22 a day (one every 65 minutes, over 8000 each year compared to a total number killed in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq together, of slightly more than 5200 - over a 10 year period…), and who dedicate themselves to standing up a non-profit organization to help stop or slow that incredible rate of suicides?
Don’t forget, for every firefighter, EMS professional, law enforcement officer, military servicemember or others on the front lines of saving, protecting and serving others, there are those who stay behind, protecting the home life and supporting their loved ones. Waiting, and oftentimes not knowing if or when their loved one will return. They often suffer as much as or more than the ‘obvious’ hero they support.
Almost everyone has a hero. Someone they look up to, emulate or wish they could be like, and admire. It might be your Mom or Dad, a teacher, TV cowboy character…or even you!
Obvious Heroes are easy to spot. But there are many, many more who are not so obvious, but who are there, in the wings, making life better for others and giving them someone to look up to.
Just look around and you’ll see them everywhere, hiding in plain sight. The next time you drive down your street, and see that quiet little old man who occasionally waives at you as he’s slowly mowing his lawn, remember. He might be a Hero, right there on your street.