STORIES
Earthkeepers

Ali Ballard

by Meredith from Dublin


A hero to me, is someone who can go beyond their everyday lives, and above what they think that they are capable of doing, to save people. It could just be an ordinary businessman flying somewhere for an important meeting. But when terror strikes, all they can do is think about how they can act to make the world right. To me, a hero is someone who doesn't just walk by if there is someone in need. A hero should always help people, no matter who they are. A hero will never give up no matter how hard the task seems. To me, a hero doesn't always need to do physical work, they could just be someone who gives people inspirational words. Quotes can make a big difference in someone's life, the words that they hear or read can encourage people to do almost anything. I picked my Aunt Ali because she acts this way almost every day.

Ali Ballard lives by Volcanoes National Park on the big island of Hawaii. She works very hard to take care of all the native plants that live in the area. She also keeps track of them all because they are very special to Hawaii. When you go to Hawaii, they are very strict and you have to fill out a paper agreeing that you are not bringing any agriculture with you because Hawaii has such a wonderful growing climate, nonnative plants will grow more rapidly and take up all of the native plant's space. My Aunt Ali always keeps track of the plants and makes sure they are healthy and not being hurt or damaged by any other plants. If they are being damaged she will try to prevent the problem, or dig up the plant and take special care of it so that the species won't become extinct like some plants have in the past. She works very hard at her job, but being an environmentalist and earthkeeper is not the only reason why I consider my aunt a hero.

My Aunt Ali is also a hero to me because she has rheumatoid arthritis, which is a type of arthritis that causes a tremendous amount of pain in the bones and joints. Sometimes her bones and joints have so much pain, it hurts to move. Ali works very hard to keep Hawaii's environment clean, while having this bad disease. Ali has suffered this disease since she was little, and she would spend lots of time in bed with her mother. This did not happen all of the time. The pain only occurred every once in a while. She lived a very happy childhood, although she is sometimes in pain. She is my hero because she goes to work five days a week and she also has lots of pain. I could never do what she did if I were her. The environment is very important to her and she works hard to protect it.

When I came to visit her, she took us on a tour of the park and explained how she studied plants that were literally taking over the tropical forest. She also showed us how she counts all of the plants and writes down their locations. I could never do any of the hardworking actions that Aunt Ali performs.

She and her new husband, Kip Ballard both live in a cozy little house in Hawaii County, Hawaii. Many people may think Hawaii has palm trees, beaches, and hula girls. Hawaii has lots of this around the coastline. Cities like Kona have lots of beaches and hula girls (where I went last February) but where my aunt lives, it can get really chilly at night and there is no ocean in sight. Aunt Ali and Uncle Kip do lots of projects and presentations on the history of volcanoes, and how to keep the environment clean. They enjoy their jobs a great amount and they look forward going to Volcanoes National Park every day.

Page created on 6/21/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/21/2011 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

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