Friday, July 22, 2011

Ordinary Heroes

"We invite you to please nominate your choice for the:
2011 Samaritan Heart Award.

We all know...citizens who have a heart for service... "

Followed by a form one may complete and submit, this filled a third-page in the local newspaper.

It is true that many of the citizens, friends and neighbors are involved in "volunteer" activities which will be recognized via these nominations. But my thoughts turned this morning to those who will never be recognized, yet their lives are lived every bit as heroically as are those of the ones who will be feted in the press.

What are the standards for the determination of life heroically lived in this community, as seen by Vanilla?
1. The individual owns a set of responsibilities to the job and/or the family and meets them.
2. The individual stays out of trouble, i.e., s/he is a "law-abiding" citizen.
3. The individual pretty much minds his/her own business, unless called upon to assist someone.

Can I think of anyone who qualifies? Indeed I can.

Theresa opens the doors of the cafe at four every morning except Sunday. She would be seen by most people, if seen at all, as a "hash-slinger" for she does her duty so that the linemen and the trash-haulers and the lawyers can chow down on good old "home-cooked" Hoosier food come breakfast time and lunch time. Theresa closes down about four in the afternoon after she has the place cleaned and prepped for the morrow, then she goes home. Minds her own business. That's what small-business owners do.

Delbert "gets the call" at 3:35 A.M.Monday morning of the long holiday weekend. He works for the "water company" and he is on call this weekend. He goes to the site of the "emergency" to discover the "break." He will make arrangements to deal with the problem, for it will require a crew. The next time we see him, Delbert may be five feet deep in mud and muck, but the repair will be affected. Then he'll go home to his kids and grandkids and mind his own business. That's how water company employees live.

The garbage truck went by the house at 11:20 A.M. There is a crew of three, one driver, two heavers-on. One of those two is Jeremy. He's just a kid, twenty-one years old. But he has a full-time physically demanding and sometimes smelly job. They start their route, five days a week, at six in the morning. Jeremy will go home to his own "digs" but he is still single, so he goes home to an empty house. But sometimes he visitis his sister and entertains the nieces and nephew. That's what responsible young people do.

Jess and I were born the same year. We lived neighbors to each other for a long time. Jess went to work, came home. Worked many hours in his yard and garden, shared the produce with us, and with others for his garden "worked!" Evenings, he would sit on the front porch, watching the world go by. Minded his own business. Jess loved and cared about his many children, stepchildren and myriad grandchildren and a whole raft of great grandchildren. Not remarkable? Oh, yes he was. He met the criteria. Jess will be buried tomorrow in the local cemetery. JESS 1934-2011 RIP

This list is incomplete, because there are literally dozens, yea, even hundreds, of people within a mile of my house who meet the criteria. The ones I have chosen are representative of pretty much most of the people who surround me!


Vee said...

So true! There are heroes all around us, but most are not honored by those who pass out honors. One of my heroes is Russ, a young homeless man in our church who came to Christ and now ministers to the homeless in our town. He knows where to find them because he is one of them. Our church gives him a small stipend to carry on his work, but he lives in a tent and wants stay there so he has influence in that community. A while back he brought a homeless man to church to be baptized. Though his work will not be recorded by the newspaper, I'm sure it is being recorded by his maker.

vanilla said...

Vee, Russ is a hero, filling a niche few others could (or would) fill. Notice received on this earth for our deeds is of little consequence. But the Keeper of the Eternal Record knows!

Secondary Roads said...

Our lives our enriched by those ordinary heroes that surround us. Thanks to God for each one of them.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Ordinary people do courageous things every day, and some of them barely get a thank you.

vanilla said...

Shark, exactly so. And it wouldn't cost us much to say "thank you" on occasion.

vanilla said...

Chuck, thanks for the reminder. We do need to thank God for good people.

Ilene said...

As an retired educator, my unsung heros, in random order, include: custodial staff, maintenance workers, cafeteria personnel, teachers aides/paraprofessionals, caring and supportive parents, administrative assistants (AKA secretaries), receptionists, school nurses, librarians/media specialists, technology personnel (invaluable these days) guidance counselors, caring, supportive and consistent administrators and teachers, union leaders (yes I said it, sorry to get a bit political), security guards (isn't it a shame we have to have them these days?), respectful and hard working students (yes there are many), school board members who boldly make difficult decisions, teacher mentors, school bus drivers, contracted and stipended personnel whose hours of dedication put them way below minimum wage level, workshop presenters, volunteers, and the list could go on depending on particular school districts. Let's hear it for these unsung heros who will forever leave a mark on the future of our society.

vanilla said...

Ilene, yes, indeed. It takes a lot of good people to make the world work.