The Golden Boy

December 17, 2009
A hero is defined by a person that has distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. When you think of a hero, the first thing that pops into your head is a firefighter, police officer, or maybe even Superman. However, you don’t have to wear a red cape and have incredible strength to be a hero. Gorky Zuniga is a perfect example. He was born in Lima, Peru in 1960. His parents, Ruth and Alfredo, raised him in a very wealthy family. Alfredo owned a medical supplier company and as a young boy, Gorky would go to the factory with his father and ask so many questions about how things worked around the plant. As he got a little older, he started working at the plant, and at the same time attending school. But above all else, his favorite thing to do was play soccer. When he was sixteen, he came to America to go to college at Gannon University in Pennsylvania. There he met Mary Ball, his future sweetheart. After graduation, the two stayed in Erie where he got a job in engineering at a local steel manufacturer. Soon the two became tired of the cold weather so they moved out to California. Gorky joined the Air Force and served his country for twelve years. Around their first year in California, they decided to have their first child. Nine months later, I showed up. To me Gorky Zuniga is not only my father but he is also my hero. He may not be a fire fighter or a police officer. He is something much more; Gorky Zuniga is a hero to me because of the things he has done for his family, country, and community.

The one thing that Gorky takes very seriously is family. “My family is everything to me and more. I would do anything and everything for them no matter what.” He keeps these words very close to his heart. His willingness to sacrifice anything for his family to keep their best interest was tested when he got out of college. He was given an offer to go play soccer professionally by a team in Chicago. The pay wasn’t great and he wanted to start a family soon. He decided to pass up the offer and go into engineering instead. This would provide a more solid start for his family. Even though playing soccer professionally was a dream of his, he gave it all up for his family. Only a true hero could be that selfless.

When Gorky was enlisted into the Air Force, it made Mary very nervous. What if something happened to him on the job and he didn’t come home. She would be left with a child on the way and would have to provide for herself. Even though the dangers facing him were immense, he joined saying, “It was some of the most fun I had ever had in my entire life. The Air Force taught me how to be a man and I wouldn’t trade the times a had for anything. I would have joined for another term but your mom said no.” For someone to risk their life for their country shows courage, strength, and bravery. Not everyone would have the heart to do what he did for his nation.

Throughout the years, Gorky has mad some major advances that helped the world.
When he was working at Chrysler Automotives, he help design and worked on the mechanics of many cars. In the Air Force, he helped design a fighter jet called F/A-18. He says, “I was so honored when I was asked to help design this fighter aircraft. My supervisor told me I was on of the brightest minds he had ever seen.” Knowing that he took part in designing a plane that he would get to fly was unbelievable to him. His intelligence and wits helped not only him, but also many other fighter pilots around the world.

In many ways, Gorky Zuniga and Odysseus are very similar. They both show outstanding courage and strength. They can also be very stubborn and prideful. However, in the end, their strengths outnumber their weaknesses and they can overcome many obstacles. Gorky’s character is one to admire and respect. Not many people can say that they have accomplished the things he has and he should be extremely proud of that. The small things that he does are what set him apart from others. His willingness and determination to do the right thing is unreal and should be appreciated.

Gorky Zuniga has accomplished so much throughout his life and is still expanding his vast knowledge of technology and mechanics for the good of the world. He is a willing to risk his life for his country to do something he loves. Most of all, he is a devoted father and husband who would drop everything to help his family. That alone is something to marvel at. These are just some of the many things that Gorky Zuniga has done to make him a hero, role model, and a friend.

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