Great-Grandfather Frederick F. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Frederick Albert is not a name you will find in a history book or engraved on a monument. It is, however, the name of a German farmer who was a hero in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, population 700, during the Great Depression. He was also my great-grandfather.

Although my great-grandfather died before I was born, he has had a profound impact on my life. I constantly hear stories about his courage and dedication. My favorite (that my mother has often told me) brings tears to my eyes every time I hear his determination and strength.

In 1935, my great-grandfather was a dairy farmer but planted watermelons for extra money. To cut costs, he always saved the seeds for the next season. Because Reynoldsburg was a small town, everyone knew everyone. While picking up supplies at the feed store one crisp fall morning, my great-grandfather learned of a young girl who was ill with a kidney disease. Her mother had read that watermelon seeds could be crushed into tea to help cure her daughter. She approached my great-grandfather and asked if she could have some of his watermelon seeds.

That night, while my great-grandfather's family sat around the table basking in the soft glow of a kerosene lamp, he looked at his five healthy children. He knew what they had to do. My great-grandfather gave all his watermelon seeds to the mother to help nurse her daughter back to health - he was a caring man.

Unfortunately, all the watermelon tea in the world could not have saved the child and with winter's first snowfall, she died. The girl's mother remained grateful to my great-grandfather and his family for their sacrifice. News of the child's death spread, and so did the story of my great-grandfather's generosity and kindness. Many local farmers honored him with watermelon seeds. When spring came, he again was able to plant watermelons, but he also thought of a mother's love and devotion to her dying child. Moreover, as his hoe turned the rich, dark earth, he contemplated how fortunate he was.

In my eyes, my great-grandfather is a genuine hero because he followed his heart and did what was best for others. Although he was a poor man monetarily, he was rich with the love he gave to others and the respect he received.

When I find myself in difficult or confusing situations, I remember his story of strength and generosity. I smile with pride when I follow his wisdom - the wisdom of a humble hero.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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