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How Can You Be a Hidden Hero?

Hidden Hometown Heroes

Heroes can appear suddenly in many different places, shapes, and sizes, but many are secretly hidden throughout our daily lives. Heroes are all over the place, hiding in plain sight and quietly carrying out secret actions of saving lives and serving their communities without much, if any, recognition or pay. Like Clark Kent is to Superman or Bruce Wayne is to Batman, their contributions to society are priceless and are achieved anonymously. Without their willingness to sacrifice their own needs and risk their own safety to serve their communities, many Americans would suffer or even die. From the volunteer firefighter to the decorated war veteran, these heroes are a valuable and necessary part of our culture. These valued members of American society usually hold everyday jobs that have nothing to do with their public service positions, and that is what makes them hidden heroes.

Hidden heroes seem to be a certain breed of human that tends toward community service and the desire to help others from an early age. They tend to be heroic throughout their entire lives, dabbling in volunteer work that serves their communities and country. Two examples of these hidden heroes are Chris Nethers and Wes Sims.

By day, Chris Nethers is a music teacher at Licking Valley Elementary School, but by night he is a volunteer for Madison Township Fire Department, his local township EMS and firehouse. Many a day, Mr. Nethers has had an exhausting day teaching children the joys and challenges of music, and before the last bus has pulled out of the school, he is hurrying to his SUV to go on a "run" to answer someone’s call for help. His desire to serve began at a young age. It led to him first becoming a lifeguard and then a teacher and a volunteer at the fire department working on the squad. He spends many of these long days and nights doing work for his fellow man and asks for nothing in return. He sacrifices not only his time and sanity but also many missed moments with his own family and friends so he can help others. This is what makes him a true hidden hero.

Wes Sims works every day at Licking Valley Intermediate School. By day he is a custodian, cleaning up spills and taking out the trash, but after school has closed and he goes home for the evening, he is a family man and decorated war hero with a Purple Heart hidden safely at his home. The details of his Purple Heart are a private, painful memory for him, but everyone knows that this man will go beyond the call of duty to protect the innocent school children he is surrounded by daily. His home may hold a Purple Heart for his bravery, but his chest holds a tender, caring heart that all can see daily in the twinkle in his eyes and in his boyish grin. This man was willing to die for his country and fellow Marines, so he is a true hidden hero.

Both men are highly involved with their school districts, putting in late hours preparing for a school program or clearing the sidewalks from the freshly fallen snow at three o’clock in the morning. All of their extra efforts benefit the children’s learning environment, and the parents of the community can sleep well knowing these hidden heroes guard their children all day long, while they are away from them.

What is your definition of a hero? Can you look around your community and find the hidden ones? Does the lady taking your order at your favorite fast-food chain double as an EMT at night? Does the carpenter fixing your door jamb have a nighttime position volunteering at his local firehouse? Does the guy high in the treetops holding a chainsaw drive a screaming ambulance after midnight? They can be anyone, anywhere. You just need to ask a few questions and have an open mind.

How can you be a hidden hero? Can you find an hour or two a week to read to the elderly at your local nursing home? Can you mow an elderly neighbor’s grass? Can you look around and see how to help someone else and not expect to get anything in return but being a hidden hometown hero? The world needs more hidden heroes, and you could be one.

About Jacqueline

Jacqueline Warner takes joy in the little things in life. She is a historian, genealogist, and freelance writer. She enjoys a daily life in the country living amongst her family. As a history major at Ohio State University, she helped create a researchable Native American oral history archive and presented research papers at three national history conferences. She has written articles in several magazines, newspapers, and ledgers and looks forward to writing many more!

Copyright 2021, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the author. Originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Bulat Silvia

Jacqueline Warner takes joy in the little things in life. She is a historian, genealogist, and freelance writer. She enjoys a daily life in the country living amongst her family. As a history major at Ohio State University, she helped create a researchable Native American oral history archive and presented research papers at three national history conferences. She has written articles in several magazines, newspapers, and ledgers and looks forward to writing many more!

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