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COMMUNITY HERO:
RICHARD AVERY
by Robert from Woodland Hills


A hero is someone who does something, anything, which benefits the world that they live in. A hero doesnít have to be big and famous; they can be mundane and boring. They can be someone who helps out in their community by providing the local kids with activities to keep them off the streets. Or, they can be a brave young man who joins the military and goes off to war. Out of all the people I know, the best example of a hero is Mr. Avery. Mr. Avery is my hero, not only because he has helped mold boys into young men who have great skills and deep hearts, but because he has also served his country in Vietnam.

Mr. Avery went to Vietnam, but he was never in the military. He volunteered to go when he joined the International Volunteer Service, which was to become the Peace Corps. He admits that he became a non-combatant so that he wouldnít be drafted. However, he worked in war-torn Vietnam as a community developer. He fought poverty and sickness instead of the Vietcong. One example he gave had to do with a chicken farmer. This chicken farmer had fallen on hard times, so Mr. Avery took him to another chicken farmer a few villages over. The farmer learned new ways to farm chickens and when Mr. Avery visited a few months later, the farmer gave him two chickens to show his gratitude.

After his tour in Vietnam, Mr. Avery was drafted, but, because he had gotten dysentery, the military didnít take him. Instead, he became a Program Officer for a government supported anti-poverty agency in Indiana. Now he fought the war on poverty in his home country. His job was overseeing and organizing volunteers who educated the poor and, among other things, advocating why it was so important for them to vote. Unfortunately, when President Nixon took office, Mr. Avery was out of the job because the Republican Party didnít support educating the poor about voting rights.

Mr. Avery is a wonderful Assistant Scoutmaster in my Boy Scout Troop. He has been the backbone of my troop for many years, organizing the campouts, carpooling, and day-to-day arrangements. A very well organized man, Mr. Avery makes my job as Senior Patrol Leader many times easier. He makes other peopleís jobs easier as well; he helps the boys with their rank advancements and always gives the Troop Guide a helping hand. Isnít always giving a helping hand the key to being a hero?

The most heroic thing about Mr. Avery is his ability to be prepared. On a trip, if you forgot something you needed, he would be the man who had the plan to deal with it. For example, when the troop went backpacking a few years ago, it rained the whole time! When we got to camp, we quickly set up our tents, but one of the scouts didnít have the rope needed to extend the rain fly out. When the scout and his buddy noticed that their tent was filling up like a bathtub, they asked Mr. Avery for help and he had just the thing, extra tent staking rope. There is no doubt that he was the scoutís hero that day after being saved by his resourcefulness.

There is no doubt, to me, that he is a hero. But, Mr. Avery doesnít consider himself a hero. He says he is a survivor and that there are many other people who do many more heroic things. Actually, I picked him not only because he fits my definition of a hero, but also because he is the type of hero that no one ever notices.


Written by Robert from Woodland Hills
Last changed on: 6/22/2004 10:37:07 AM

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