Before I begin, I just want to say that my heart goes out to the families, friends and co-workers of the 19 elite firefighters who lost their lives in Arizona last weekend. I am overcome with emotion and gratitude for anyone who sacrifices their safety to save others.
My siblings are EMS workers. One works in extremely risky situations on a daily basis. This can actually be quite difficult for me sometimes; there are television shows I often can handle watching and I don’t listen to the news anymore. Over the past several years, I have written dozens of “Op-Eds” and “Letters to the Editor” to Canadian newspapers in response to stories that belittle or bash our local heroes or question the value of their paycheques. This has become a passion of mine. I have so much respect for heroes and I often wish they were given the public acknowledgement they deserve on a regular basis, not just when they die in the line of duty.
This blog isn’t just about fallen heroes, but I wanted to make sure I honoured them. I want us all to remember that when we’re running away from a situation, the heroes are the ones running into it. And they’re doing it for us. Heroes are some of the most important people in the world. Whether they are personal heroes or public heroes… whether they have fallen or still stand, heroes can impact our lives so drastically.
Heroes can be strangers who are there on the worst days of our lives and intentionally sacrifice themselves in some way to make it a little easier on us. Heroes can be the ones who just live their lives in such a way that they inadvertently give others inspiration and courage to live just bravely. A hero can really be anyone who impacts your life in a positive way, whether you know them personally or not.
My life is filled with heroes. I love hearing people’s stories and through that, I often learn about people’s heroic qualities, even if they don’t consider themselves to be heroes at all.
My siblings are my heroes. If you sacrifice family events, holidays, hours of sleep and your own safety to help others, you’re a hero to me.
If you’re someone who has overcome huge adversity in your life and now use your experience to help others who are struggling, you’re a hero to me.
If you’re someone famous and you decide to use your realm of influence to raise money or awareness for a charity or important issue, you’re a hero to me.
If you’re a singer who pours every vulnerability within you into your music then releases it publicly, not caring whether it makes money but hoping it changes lives, you’re a hero to me.
If you work solely to make money to help others, you’re a hero to me.
If you use your voice to speak out against injustice, you’re a hero to me.
If you’ve given your life to a cause worth fighting for, you’re a hero to me.
I can think of several examples of people for everything I just mentioned. And they are my heroes. They are living a heroic life and inspiring others to follow.
Who are your heroes? Who inspires you to live your life the way you do? Who has helped you through the most difficult time of your life and not asked for anything in return?
I want to hear your hero stories – And I want to honour the heroes in our lives.
When you think of these people, remember to thank them for what they’ve done for you or others. Write a card to your local police, fire or ambulance stations and thank them for their service and sacrifice. Write a thank you note to the people who started your favourite charity. Send a tweet to someone who has inspired you to change your life. Let’s live in a spirit of acknowledgement and gratitude!