More than a Soilder

December 17, 2009
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People can define a hero in many ways. Some people think of a hero as someone with some sort of super power or ability; others think of a hero as someone who has done something extraordinary in their life. However, some believe that heroes are the people that have a monumental impact on one’s life. Tim Jeffers is all but one of these. He doesn’t have any sort of extraordinary power or anything like that, but that doesn’t make him any less of a hero. He is human. He makes mistakes, has failures and regrets, and has personal struggles just like the rest of us. But he has been able to overcome most of these adversities and make his, mine, and the lives of others better by serving in the United States of America’s Armed Forces, by playing a role in the government, and by being a loving family man to many different people in his life.

Uncle Tim grew up on the East Side of Indianapolis in the 1960s and 70s. He was raised in a family of eight, four brothers, two sisters, and two loving parents. Living in a large family took much cooperation. All eight had to share one bathroom and one van for the better part of his childhood. All four boys shared a room. Without cooperation in his childhood, many more fights, bloodshed, holes in the walls, and tears would have occurred in the boys’ room.

However, Tim grew up in a very different time period than we know today. Times have changed. Most parents didn’t have to worry about their children being kidnapped or stolen back then. As he said, “It seemed like a more innocent time.” And he is right. But horrible things still happened back then, but people are more informed today then they used to be. Technology has improved, and people can send and receive news with a click of a button. A big difference in his childhood was not having a computer. He had to write everything by hand, all his school work, everything.

But these limitations in technology didn’t hold him back. He ran a paper route, cut grass, and shoveled driveways for money, just like many kids in that time period and in ours. He worked hard in school, first going to Little Flower, a Catholic school, through grade school. He says that getting this background in his faith really helped him set his values straight later in life. He then attended Scecina High School, and, while there, received and appointment to West Point. When he graduated, he decided to accept. He always knew he would be a soldier, priest, or politician.

After spending three months at West Point, he decided that it just wasn’t for him. He said, “I was a big disappointment to my folks.” But he never gave up. He transferred to Wabash in 1987 and graduated there. He joined the National Guard as a Second Lieutenant. He spent five years with the National Guard and went on various missions, including a goodwill mission to Romania in 1996. He said that the National Guard was a great experience. After those five years, he resigned his state commission, but not his federal commission.

After serving, he worked in the government. He has worked for four governors, three speakers of house, and two congressmen in the state of Indiana so far. However, he almost did not. While in college, he ran for the president of his fraternity. He lost by one vote. At the time he thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen to him, little did he know it wasn’t. His senior year he was invited to go to Washington D.C. for a year and study the government. After this experience, he said, “It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.” It made him wonder if he had won that election, would he have gone to D.C. and become the person he is today. His D.C. trip influenced him to run for the secretary of state in Indiana in 1994. However, this did not go so well, and he lost humiliatingly. But by losing he learned that things don’t always have to go your way to turn out to be a good thing. As he said, “Moments in your life that seem like horrible parts of your life can turn out to be a real growing experience.”

However, Tim’s growing experience was not over. In 2004, he found out that he had to serve in Iraq. Captain Jeffers, with his graying hair and Jeffers’ blue eyes, stepped off the giant C130 airplane on Christmas Eve, 2004. While in Iraq, he served under General David Petraeus as his Public Affairs Officer. This was a life changing experience for him, as it was for a lot of people. He returned to the United States in September of 2005.

When he returned, he married and immediately had two step-children, but to him, “step” is just a word. About a year after that he had three more children. He says that being a father is the, “Hardest job I’ve ever had.” He also has realized that to be a good father, you have to learn from your mistakes. He said that it is learning experience and that, “You have to be patient.”

Tim Jeffers is a soldier and a politician, but he is much more than that. He is a brother, a son, a father, an uncle, and a godfather to me. He has learned throughout his life that you have learn from your mistakes, and that sometimes, bad things happen, but it always works out in the end. He is much like Odysseus, an epic hero from The Odyssey, by being a soldier and a leader. He also is a loving father who cares about his family more than anything, just like Odysseus. Tim Jeffers is a hero, and everyone’s definition of a hero is different.





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