What is a hero?
Definitions of the word vary from person to person, so I figured it best to see what Mr. Webster had to say on the matter…
HERO [heer-oh] n.– a person who is admired or idealized for his/her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
How many heroes do you know?
I’m willing to bet you’ve met several and didn’t realize it.
The other day during a conversation my partner blurted out, “Doc there aren’t any heroes any more, people just do what they have to do. Like cops and firefighters, they applied for and got the job so they do what they gotta do and if they don’t someone else will.”
Perhaps this is true…
As I have to partially agree with him, because I’ve been a firefighter and a police officer, and I know that sometimes they have to go above and beyond what’s expected and they do it without hesitation.
They’re in a situation so they get the job done no matter what the problem is, simply because they have to.
But when you stop and think about it, there are heroes all around us everyday.
Like the guy that stops and jumps in the water and pulls people out of a submerged car…
Or the person that runs into a burning building to save a small child or pet.
They certainly are heroes.
Right now I’m talking about people with courage and noble qualities, people who extend themselves and expect nothing in return.
I’m very fortunate to have met a couple of people I call heroes, two brothers in fact, and here’s why they’re heroes to me.
As luck would have it Kyle and Jude Hodgens were my first Jiu Jitsu instructors and it didn’t take long to realize they were a lot more than just fighters.
I had private lessons through the summer of 2002 with Kyle and Jude and hey taught me to win in the street as opposed to winning points in the ring.
Their father was a retired police officer so they were aware of what can happen to an officer on patrol. They know that sometimes an officer gets into a “win or die” struggle out there on the street.
They didn’t shy away from the task of teaching Jiu Jitsu and street fighting to someone in his sixties as they were patient and they made me a winner and I have the medals (and I’m still alive) to prove it.
During our training, they become more than instructors, they became my friends.
During our time together, I learned that Kyle had a young student with multiple sclerosis.
When I talked to him about his student I could see the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment when he was telling me about the progress the young man had made himself as he was now able to play basketball, but it also had an effect on this student’s family.
I knew these guys were special, they weren’t into teaching fighting for glory, it was about helping, personal achievement and family unity.
I learned through the summer that Jude was a schoolteacher but I didn’t ask what grade he taught until our last day of the season.
Now comes the eye opener.
I asked Jude what grade he taught and he said he didn’t teach grades he taught the severely mentally handicapped.
When he began talking his eyes lit up, he smiled and he told me about what an accomplishment it was for some of his students to learn how to brush their teeth.
He taught many of them how to function in everyday life, helping to relieve the concerns for these peoples families.
I asked him once why he never got into law enforcement, as he would have been a natural and had it in his blood.
His answer was simple…
“No, Doc, I can’t leave my kids.”
Kyle and Jude like many others are heroes because they don’t do what they do for recognition…
They do it because they want to help.
Like it says in the Circle of Life, “To join the stampede, you should never take more then you give”
And they don’t.
They give and they make a difference.
So look around, there are heroes out there everywhere giving and helping.
To me being a hero isn’t necessarily about great fetes of strength or taking a bullet for someone else, it’s also about giving and helping.
Like I said earlier…
Look around, heroes are a lot closer than you think.
Heck, you might even be one yourself!
I don’t care what your age is you’re never too old to learn.
As always, remember…
Never say “I’m too old” or “I can’t” because you’re not and you can.