Not Expected

December 16, 2009
By Anonymous

Many people have their own idea of what a true hero really is. Kids might say it’s someone like superman, flying around and saving people. Adults might think of our soldiers, risking their lives for our country. They can be personal or public. Heroes contain certain characteristics that devote themselves to saving the lives of others, but there are people all around us that greatly change the lives of others. So, the real question is if people can recognize a hero if they aren’t wearing a cape? What if they aren’t battling off or killing bad guys? What does a hero actually look like? Imagine a 78 year old, balding, not-so buff, pocket protector-wearing grandpa. Not what you would picture, right? Well this man, my grandfather, he has accomplished great things, fought through even the most difficult situations, and reached out to help people. My grandfather, a persistent, compassionate, hardworking and trusting man, has experienced many unique life challenges that have made him the hero he is today.
Since he was a child, he was expected to do a lot. Growing up in a household of seven kids, with little money, his father pushed him into working at a very young age, and taking care of his siblings when he could. He admits his father was really strict, but he realizes now it was only because his parents cared a lot about their family. “If you keep a boy busy, he won’t get into much trouble”, he says thinking back to what his father used to always tell him. His father kept him busy, always finding him a new place to work if he needed. Thinking back, he can’t really remember a time when he didn’t have a job. When he was young, he worked at the grocery store, the lumber yard, and worked the newspaper route, trying to please his father and help out anyway he could. Even though many things have tried to slow him down throughout his life, he has overcome everything thrown at him and continued on, working and raising a family of his own. Even through his adulthood, working was something he never stopped doing. He worked on the Monon Railroad, owned his own lumber yard, did carpentry, and got into real estate. Even to this day he does real estate and carpentry work around town. “I guess some people consider me a ‘work-a-holic,’” he says “but it just wouldn’t feel right to quit, yet”. Working with so many people throughout his various jobs in his childhood and adulthood, made him very trusting and caring toward others. He was compassionate and trusting to people he didn’t even know he could trust. He says he remembers a time when a young man walked into his shop and asked him if he could borrow his phone to call a cab. My grandfather told the man he wasn’t going to be able to find a cab in this small town, but he asked him where he was going. The man explained to him how he just needed to get across town for a few hours so he could run some errands. Trusting the man, my grandfather told him that his truck was out front, and the keys were under the mat; “just bring it back here when you’re done” he said. He realized the man needed a little bit of help, and just the smallest things can help someone get through the day, sometimes. My grandfather knew the risk he was taking by being so generous, but he felt trust in this stranger and gave him a hand, like he’s done so many times.
Before my grandfather met his wife, my grandmother, and had a family, a lot of his dedication was focused on his jobs. His devotion to finishing every job he starts and making things safe and usable for other people is one thing that was never lost, even when he had started a family. He was greatly devoted to his wife, children, and his job, but sometimes, his dedication to work put him in dangerous situations. In 1998, my grandfather was hit by a car while working in a ditch, along side a road, on electrical power lines. The lady that hit him was intoxicated and lost control. The car hit him from behind, sending him through the front windshield, ending them both up in the hospital in bad condition. He made it through just fine, remembering it as one of the scarier moments of his life. The whole family was concerned about his health and safety, and we all were expecting him to retire from his job and spend his life with his wife, but he didn’t. He was back out to the job he loves as soon as he could, never even thinking about the event that had just occurred. He’s dedicated to everything he does and never gives up easily. He’s stubborn and fights through anything, but he won’t stop until he get’s the job done, whether he’s helping someone out or fixing a power line.

“Persistence is important in life, if you want to get things done”. Something my grandfather always says, and takes it to heart. He’s persistent right down to every little thing. He never gives up, fighting through any obstacle that threatens to get in his way; nevertheless, it saved his life. Three years ago, he was in an incident that we thought was going to end his life. My grandfather was run over by a tractor that was pulling a bush hog. He takes the blame for it, saying he made a mistake that; consequently, could have ended his life. He had been working with a tractor that day, in the field, tilling the ground, getting ready to plant. The tractor he was working with was pulling a three-blade, rotating, bush hog behind it to get the job done. My grandpa put the tractor in the wrong gear when he got down to check the front, which was his life threatening mistake. Because the tractor was in the wrong gear, when he got to the front of it, it began to start tilling. My grandfather was forced to the ground by the big machinery and as it ran him over he thought his life was over. The wheels rolled over him, breaking his thigh bone, all his ribs and puncturing his lung on the life side, just missing his head. He closed his eyes as the trailing bush hog neared him, thinking for sure that it’d all be over after the rotating blades passed over. All of a sudden the front of the tractor hit my grandpa’s truck, spinning the bush hog away from him, right before it hit. Realizing what had happened, he jumped up and chased after the tractor and turned it off, before it could harm anyone else in the small neighborhood. He was in critical condition for quite a few weeks but he fought with everything he had through the worst, and made it out ok. “I never for a second stopped praying and thanking god, because I knew it was a miracle that I had survived what had just happened”, he said remembering everything about that day. He recalls this as the scariest day of his life, and doesn’t take for granted that he’s still alive. His life has had quite a few hardships in it, but he’s never once given up for a moment. He’s fought through everything and has worked hard to get to where he is now.
My grandfather has taught people how to earn what you want and not take anything for granted. He’s been through life experiences that have affected him greatly, but looks back and says he regrets nothing. He demonstrates important life qualities that everyone should learn from. Going sometimes out of his way to help anyone he can, showing compassion even to strangers, working hard to accomplish everything he wants, being persistent and never giving up, even when it’s easier just to quit. He’s a fighter, a teacher, a friend, and someone I can always count on. He is my hero.

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