As we gear up for Ugly Sweater Parties, Yankee Swaps, Secret Santa Activities, Cookie Swaps, Decorating the Tree, making Gingerbread houses and from what I’ve seen on Facebook, some crazy thing called Elf on the Shelf (That definitely wasn’t around in the 90’s, but I digress…) it is the season of being thankful and appreciative of those that sacrifice themselves for the betterment of others and to recognize heroes among us.
Many young people look up to celebrities like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and the cast of Twilight, or back in my day, JTT from Home Improvement, the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync. Yet, if we all just took a moment and looked around our community, school or workplace every day, heroes are right in front of us.
I am very blessed to live in the Lakes Region. I have known this since I moved here, back in 2004. In 2006 I co-founded a non profit, The Faith, Hope, and Love Foundation which was inspired by my amazing students at Laconia High School, after hearing the story of the Sabecks, a married couple that just returned from a mission trip to Haiti. As a follow up to the geography/civics lesson, I wanted to inspire my students that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference in the lives of others.
Most of our donations come in the amount of $5, $10, or $25 dollars. We don’t use grant money to operate and we are 100% volunteer. In seven years we have been able to give out thousands of dollars to children and youth in the region, all due to the generous community and their support!
In putting together an Annual Dancing with the Stars Fundraiser with my good friend Ashley, the community has in three years, raised over $18,000 for Lakes Region non profits. This event gets me choked up every year when I think about those community members that choose to go outside of their comfort zone and dance in front of hundreds of people all in the name of charity. Each year I see middle and low income families giving all they have in their wallet to donate to the community.
I’m not the only one that knows the Lakes Region has it going on; this past weekend the WLNH 98.3 Children’s Auction raised over $400,000! Check out fellow Stay Work Play Blogger Carmen’s Post about the event!
Other examples of every day heroes are the police officers, and fire men and women that put their life on the line day in and day out. My father was a fire chief in my hometown for about 15 years and I never thought twice about what he was doing when he would have to run out in the middle of the night. Now that I’m older I understand that each time he left, could have been the last time I saw him. These brave men and women leave their families each day to protect, serve and in times die for strangers.
Another group that don’t always get enough credit are our veterans-past, present, and future! Each year we have a day set aside to reflect and thank them, yet it isn’t enough for their sacrifice, and we can’t forget their families that are also every day heroes. Some children move around their entire childhood or go months and even years without a parent because they are doing their duty to our country.
You don’t have to work in a service position to be a hero.
Parents that put their dreams aside for the betterment of their child are heroes. My parents included, as they sacrificed so much for me and my siblings.
I have the honor of volunteering at the Timberman Triathlon each year in Gilford handing out water and snacks to the athletes. One example of a parents love is the father son duo the Hoyt Team. It shows the true bond of a father and son, and I’m sure this duo is inspiration and considered heroes to many around the world!
Those that do small acts of kindness are heroes…paying for someone’s coffee, all the way up to paying for their gas or electric bill. They are all heroes. Some families live pay check to pay check and these small acts make a huge difference.
Just recently this video went viral to show an everyday hero: Boy with Cerebral Palsy Wins Match and this picture of a police officer buying shoes for another man. Many news articles have picked this picture apart saying the man wasn’t homeless, but a veteran. No matter what he was, it doesn’t define the act of the human spirit, simply put… it’s one man helping another.
When I was a child, my sister, my best friend, was deathly ill and the community came together with spaghetti dinners and church collections, which all made a huge difference. I will never forget when we were up in Boston visiting my sister at the amazing Boston Children’s Hospital and my dad took my brother over to Fenway Park, to get out of the hospital for a bit. Sadly, similar to this season, the Sox weren’t the best in the 80’s but a man went up to my dad and brother and saw that they didn’t have tickets to the game and he very kindly gave them his tickets. What a memory, as the seats were behind home plate and the Sox actually won that day!
For me, my sister is my every day hero, a true survivor and fighter. This summer she took on a new role, beautiful bride and it was a blessing to see her dance at her wedding.
Many people think that the heart of the Lakes Region is the tourism industry but it really is the people that make it a great place to live. Some people may never know how much of an impact you have on a person or the ripple effect that your daily acts of kindness will have.
Heroes live among us……just look around.
Who is your everyday hero?