Essays on the Theme of Heroism

What is a hero?

by James Harakas from Charlotte, NC

My Hero Papou Ted 

If my summation is for certain, a hero can be a different kind of individual other than the ones we imagine when we watch movies of those saving the world.  No, I’m not talking about a supernatural human here, but an ordinary person living a normal life. It does not make sense how sometimes even wise people cannot see who the REAL heroes are.  There are innumerable traits in a hero: a valiant spirit, a hard-working mindset, and a servant’s heart. These are just a few adjectives that can describe my papou, Ted. (Papou means grandfather in Greek)

Vailance is the first ingredient to build my hero.  My papou was born in a village in Greece during the "the Survival War", otherwise known as World War II.  The Germans invaded, the church bells sounded, and everything became as still as a sloth in the dead of night as the white snow heavily fell on the red, terracotta rooftops.  My papou, my yiayia, and other people hid in a cave. They showed bravery by staying still and not talking when something really frightening was on the attack. As the Nazis marched by them, a man even held his young infant’s mouth sealed to avoid all sounds and prevent the Nazis' attack.  That was pretty nuts if you asked me. Furthermore, there is another story of the Germans invaded the village, and they were lined up to be shot! My papou was in that line when the Red Cross came and saved them. I would be terrified, and probably would not have had his courage. Then, my papou left Greece for a better life in America, by himself on a ship, through breathtaking waves and life-taking storms. He arrived in New York City to work for 16 hours a day to try to make ends meet.  His great fearlessness to start a new life all over again for himself, without even knowing the language, kept him striving for his goals. This explains the hardships that life chucked at him and to still have energy in his body to persevere through them.

The second ingredient we need is a hard working mindset to characterize my hero.  He worked to help his mother run the house when he was just a little boy. In fact, when he came over from Greece he came to lived with his brother.  He worked for 16 hours a day so that when his children came they did not have to work as hard, and he was only seventeen! Also, he opened his own thriving restaurant.  Beginning a business takes so much risk, time, and effort. If that wasn’t hard enough, at times his only employees were his wife and children. He never gave up which unfolds his true dedication and his pursuit to succeed.  Additionally, Papou retired at a young age, in his 50s, and he sold his business. This goes to show hard work comes with rewards.

The last of these specific traits is a servant’s heart, and indeed, the most important ingredient.  He lives for God.  He goes to church every Sunday so early, and he always includes God in everything he talks about; for example, a lesson.  My papou came all the way from Greece to come to America, to have to work for sixteen hours a day just for his offsprings.  I call that some selflessness. Everyone adores Papou. He is a star that shines as he leads a strong path for people, especially his family.  If someone needs a hand, he is the first to lend his. He helps those who are less fortunate. “Your talent is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your [present to create more for God].”  Just as God explains in this verse, the person who finds out their gift needs to use it for Him. My papou has done just what God said. Every time we see him he has a humongous smile on his face as he offers to serve us anything we need.

As you can see, my description of a real hero goes to show a brave heart, an amazing worker, and a selfless attitude which makes up my papou’s character.  All of these attributes of him make me desire to be like him, and to aim to have these types of character traits also. I strive to become more like my papou each day.  He is my champion, a person known for his generous deeds for his family, friends, people he has come to know, and those he does not know.  To conclude, I envision my hero as Papou; he who works hard at building a lasting legacy in God’s likeness.





Page created on 3/11/2019 3:55:47 PM

Last edited 3/18/2019 6:08:01 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.