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The Hero Before My Eyes

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Today is a sad day, not just for me, but for his co-workers, his friends, his teachers, and the hundreds of strangers he helped each and every day. As we say our goodbyes today, we say goodbye to a man who lived to make others happy and strived to make his imprint on the world before he left it. My most remembered memory of him was on February 28th, 1984, a day in which I saw how much of an impact my dad made on people’s lives and I realized that he was the man I hoped to become.

A cold winter had just passed us, and yet we were still covered in scarves and gloves in our crowded, one bedroom apartment in Chicago, Illinois. I was jumping around the room, and imitating all the superheroes I knew from the television shows I had watched in Mrs. Dixon’s house, during the times that she baby sat me. My dad was taking me to the superhero convention that day and there, I was determined to figure out which super hero I wanted to be like when I grew up. As we got ready to leave the apartment, the telephone suddenly rang and my dad managed to pick it up at its last ring. After exchanging a few words and slowly putting the phone back down, my dad informed me that some employees had not shown up that day, and so I would have to wait till the superhero convention came to town next time. As furious as I was, I knew that we were already short in money, and any extra would help get more food on the table, so I put down my comic books, which I had hoped to get signed, and instead picked up a coloring book that I could entertain myself.

I was never sure what exactly my dad did, but I knew that the amount of work he did in his Cullen and Frost banking company office was much more than all the rich men who ordered him around. There were no chairs for me to sit in, so I saw in the corner with my coloring book in one hand, and the chocolate bar, that my dad bought me, in the other. But rather than coloring, I found myself watching him, as he picked up the never ending phone calls, wrote, what seemed like thousands of files, and assured people that he would help them to the best of his ability. He often looked up and smiled at me, but I could see that behind that smile was a struggling, single man, who cared so deeply about the work that he did. The last client he worked on that day was for an elderly couple, whose house was trying to be taken away, as a result of financial hardships and difficult times. He worked on the case for two hours straight, and made more phone calls and begged more people than any other person would have ever done.

As he read me a bedtime story that night, he kept yawning and I could see that he was tired, but he kept on reading. During mid-sentence, the phone rang, and soon he found himself talking to the same elderly couple whose house he had tried to save that day. When he came back into the room, a tear of joy fell down his face, as he explained to me that the house was not going to be taken away from the couple and that many of the financial burdens would actually be lifted off of them. It was at the exact moment that I realized I didn’t need to go to a convention to meet a superhero, because my superhero was the man that tucked me into bed each and every single night. He wore a suit, not a cape, and he didn’t have extraordinary abilities, but he did make more of an impact on each person he came across than that of any superhero I had ever watched on television.





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