Here is what some Play of the Day subscribers wrote about their heroes:
“My dad is my hero. He and Mom got married when he was 19 and she was 17 (unplanned pregnancy – me). Dad was a freshman in college at the time. He left school and went to work in a factory on the assembly line to support us. After four years of that, he realized that he didn’t want to do that for the rest of his life. He re-enrolled in school and went to classes during the day while commuting an hour to and from work in the factory at night. I am not sure when he slept. He would get home about the time I woke up in the morning, took a shower, grabbed his books and went to school. He graduated a few years later and became a high school business teacher. I rode with him to school every day. In all my years of sports he only missed one event – he made every track meet, basketball game or any other thing that I was doing. He later went on to teach at the university level for 10 years and now runs a very successful business. Every step of the way he was there for me, and he truly taught me how to set a goal and reach it, and that if you want to improve your circumstances in life, you CAN. He is an inspiration to me and the reason I am where I am today.” – Kent
“Ralph Branch is model educator. Coming from a poor black family in the South, he earned a PhD in Education from the University of California, Berkley and spent many years educating young people. Even today as he is retired, not by age but by health, he volunteers 4-6 days a week to tutor and recruit high achieving tutors from private schools to work with children from Oak Park in Sacramento who have the desire to better their lives. He is truly a great American.” – Gary
“Paul Carter, Bridgeport Nebraska. A humble hero who would deny such an accolade. Paul is married to my sister Luann. They married after Paul’s first wife died and Luann had divorced a drug dealer husband. She was struggling, he was lonely, I was skeptical. Paul is much older than Luann. But, he has risen to superstar status in my eyes after my sister developed multiple sclerosis (MS.) She has a particularly devastating version which has attacked the brain neurons, rendering her incapacitated. Paul is truly a knight in shining armor. He has tenderly cared for Luann with no possible hope for her recovery. He has a wonderful attitude, made perfect when he accepted Christ as his Savior. Paul is my hero. And God, who will restore the years the ‘locusts have eaten’, will be glorified.” – Jim
“Sailing the seas or climbing a mountain may be heroic, but, even more so is the man who takes care of his family – a second time.
We were expecting to be growing old together by this time in life. Instead we are raising 3 grandchildren. 9 years ago this month, my daughter and her [then] husband took off. I haven’t seen her since.
Starting over w/a 4&1/2, 2&1/2, and 5 month old and moving from our little ‘retirement’ home to a larger house and yard and MORTGAGE, was a bigger journey than we’d ever imagined — larger than any mountain and bigger than any sea!
Heart attack, open heart surgery, and no longer any hope of ‘early retirement’ has taken a toll on my husband, but not on his determination to take care of his family. He does it w/o fanfare, w/o praise, w/o awards. He does it day in and day out, w/the grinding sense of DUTY I see lacking in so many these days. The duty that comes w/o expectations of awards, or remembrance in Halls of Fame. He does it w/the since of duty that comes from being a Man of Honor. A Man of Courage. The Duty that makes men True Heroes.” – Cecelia
“My dad was a WWII vet. Even though he was scared to go and scared while there. He was flight engineer on a B-24 bomber. He flew from a base in Italy on two bombing campaigns (a total of 50 missions I was told).
After the war and all was done over there he came back to start and raise a family. He and my mom had five kids. What I always found remarkable was he worked and sacrificed financially to put all five kids through private school. He could have bought a boat for recreation, gone on nice vacations or even a second home for investment which would have made him a lot of money. But he believed he was poor because of private education and private education is a good reason to be poor.” – George
“Circumstances and personal challenges often are the catalyst for heroic behavior, whether taken on voluntarily or foisted upon oneself with ruthless power.
P.O.W.’s of any war, each potentially have an evocative story to tell. None more gripping than a young pilot in a WWII B-17, Flying Fortress.
A crew of 10 men were blasted out of the European sky and floated down through the dark sky into enemy territory. After their capture and for nearly two years they suffered unbearable conditions in both climate and personal quarters. As captives of the Third Reich, these young Air Force men endured torturous times with only their faith to sustain them.
Joseph Edward Ostermann is one of those heroes. Now, at age 85, he is one of the remaining few who today lives to serve as our brightest beacon of honor and heroic humanity.
Back from the prison camps, Joe took on the uniform of law enforcement in Chicago and Arlington Heights, Illinois, fathered ten children and a long legacy of grandchildren and beyond. He remains the quiet and righteous leader for his family.
In uniform on duty as a police officer, a man of authority, Joe Ostermann possessed the humility and praise for his Lord while attending Catholic mass. Kneeling in uniform, in praise and prayer he honored the Ultimate Authority. With that, he silently left his message to all of us. Praise your God and kneel to his love, forgiveness, mercy and eternal hope.
The circumstances and challenges laid before Joe Ostermann were overcome by his personal strengths and religious tenets. This hero continues to be our greatest example of personal sacrifice and love for his family and the entire American family of yesterday, today and beyond. We honor him and his legacy always.” – Steve
“Consider Capt. James Cook. This explorer mapped a great deal of the world as we know it today. From New Zealand and Australia to the state of Alaska Cook traveled from the exotic to the barren wastelands of the world going where few men had gone before. Cook lost his life on the island state of Hawaii on his last voyage. Tony Horowitz in his book Blue Latitudes enlightens readers on the impact of Cooks voyages in an insightful and humorous way.” – Greg
“The person I’m going to tell you about may not qualify for ‘hero’ in the usual sense of the word, but I think he is truly a hero. His name is, Jason Waldrouup. He is my son, a husband, and father to two very young children. He could make ‘more money’ if he stayed with his original profession as a long haul trucker, but he decided that he wanted to be a ‘dad and husband’ in the true sense of the words. So, he has found a job where he can be with his family on a daily basis because in his mind his family is the most important thing in his life. He started going to church again and rededicated his life to Christ. He makes sure that his children go to church and Sunday school and has gotten his wife to going too. He didn’t use ‘force’, he just started going, taking the kids with him and his wife decided to follow! He is a very kind and caring person, but will ‘lay down the law’ when he must. Now in MY book that is a TRUE HERO! Of course I’m prejudiced but I sure hope you agree.” – Sandy
“This hero was born in 1909, and didn’t have a dad that was anything to write home about. This hero lived in Indiana and only finished the 8th grade. This hero grew up during the Great Depression, a hard time for a young man to help support his mother and sisters. He served in WWII at age 36, knowing what sacrifice was all about America needed help and he answered the call. This hero moved West in 1946 and stayed in Las Vegas; he washed dishes, worked security in the early hotels, joined the Nevada Highway Patrol in 1950 and then moved on to the Las Vegas Police Dept. He married and raised 3 children after losing twins in 1959. He was the 1st Municipal Bailiff the City of Las Vegas ever hired in Nov.1961 and Captain of the Police Reserve for 17 years. He worked for the City for 25 years before retiring in 1975. He lived a nice, quiet, unassuming life helping others. He loved to camp, baseball, his children and his wife of 50 years. He loved his mother in-law too!
His passion was reading and he lived the last 14 years of his life without his eyesight; cataracts and Glaucoma. Never once did he complain or whine “why me?” He took his family on vacations, to the circus and worked to have a nice small home with a lot of love.
This hero died at the age of 89 in March of 1999 and the world lost another hero that most of them were not aware of. Those that did know him might not know how blessed they were to have known him. I know I was blessed and I miss him very much 5 years later. This hero was my dad.” – Randy