Cathie Campbell

by Amanda from United States Coast Guard Academy

What defines one person to be so great to get the title hero? Is it that person's willingness to die for another, like a soldier or first responder? Is it that person's lack of self-gratification and willingness to help without being recognized? Alternatively, is it something deeply rooted in the eyes of the outsider? It is all of that and more! A hero is an amazing person who may not realize what an effect he or she has on others.

My hero does amazing things each day, but she has never been recognized for it. My hero is not a soldier, even though so much is owed to them, and is not someone who has a publicly viewed heroic job, but someone who works so very hard, day in and day out, to provide for herself and her family. My hero is, and will always be, my mother. Her day-to-day actions deserve more than just a simple glance; they deserve the title of heroism.

My Hero and Me!! (This was taken at the United States Coast Guard Academy)
My Hero and Me!! (This was taken at the United States Coast Guard Academy)

From the day I was born, my mother's life changed forever. Not only did she and my father work to provide for each other, they now had me to care for as well. My mother went to school and worked as much as possible, especially after she and my father split when I was little. Imagine this, a single mother going to college, working long and late hours, taking care of a young child and trying to study. Yet, she made it seem so easy. After five years of my life, my mother had my younger sister, Becca. Now the routine my mother had developed for her and me changed, but once again, the transition seemed effortless for her. She never once made it noticeable to me that life was tough, but in the background she was eating just enough to get by and living in old clothes so she could feed, clothe, and "put a roof over" my sisters' and my head.

Within the next two years, my mother remarried to Becca's father this time and had my youngest sister, Shelby. Life should have been golden for my mother at this point. She became a stay at home mom and my stepfather provided for the family. Surprisingly, things did not get much better for my mother. My stepfather became abusive towards her and would not allow her to have the money she needed for basic items because he "worked for the money" so the money was his. My mother stayed strong through all the pain that my stepfather caused her. As I got older, I started to realize that things were wrong with my stepfather, and as a typical mouthy teenager, I let him know how I felt about him. On one occasion, he snapped and went to hit me across the face. I will never forget what my mother did at that moment. She stepped directly between my stepfather and me, and in the most impressive voice I have ever heard from my mother, she said, "If you so much as lay a hand on my daughter, so help me God, you will regret it!" He walked away in an angry fit and my mother told me to keep my mouth shut and stay away from him. She was in the process of making life better for my sisters and me. My mother was saving money so she could go buy a house of her own. During my freshman year of high school, she finally did buy her own house, and we moved away from my abusive stepfather. Money got very tight from that moment on, and my mother lived with less for herself so my sisters and I could live nice lives.

Through the stressful life my mother lead, she leaned on my father for support. My mother and father stayed very close friends throughout the years and he was the one that she went to for everything. I truly believe that my father pulled my mother out of so many low spots in her life. My father was my mother's hero. During the beginning of my senior year in high school my father suddenly died due to a heart attack. From that point on, I have been able to see behind the wall of happiness that my mother put between my sisters and I and all the financial and emotional problems that she was going through. I truly believe that my father's death hurt her more than me, and from that point on, I have seen my mother work harder than most people have, and live with next to nothing to support her three fatherless daughters.

Currently, when my mother leaves our home, where bills and children cause every single mother stress, she does not go to a stress free job. Instead, my mother spends her entire workday dealing with children that would drive most people crazy and she does it with a smile on her face. My mother works in a public school as a teacher's aide to young autistic children. I had the privilege to come see her work on a few occasions and it is amazing to see her treat these children the same way that she treated my sisters and I when we were younger. It is fun to see the frustration in her face when one of the children just will not listen and watch her calmly talk to the child and keep the situation under control. My mother helps these children when most people push them to the side. I believe that my mother is their hero as well as my hero.

Throughout my high school experience at home, my mother lived with holes in her clothes and little food for herself so my sisters and I could have what we desired. She drives the three of us to three different swimming practices as well as our individual extracurricular activities. She has always been a strong supporter of my love for color guard and majorettes and still finds time for Becca's interests and Shelby's long line of stuff to do. Somehow, she always manages to find that $30 needed for that dance ticket, or money for that new pair of shoes. She also manages to be there at all hours of the night if I just need to talk, and has offered many times to help my friends out of situations in which their own parents have given up on them.

As I look with new eyes on the life that my mother leads, I strive every day to have the courage that she has and the determination to never give up. She never once said that anything was too hard for her and always went straight into the storm instead of taking the long way along the outside of the winds. I wish I could better explain in words the feelings that I have for my mother, because to me she is not just your ordinary great mom. She is a mentor, a friend, a leader, my mother, and most importantly, My Hero!

Page created on 12/18/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/5/2017 10:38:57 PM

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.