I'd say real heroes don't wear capes. A wise teacher once said, "There are great men and women who go unknown. Their contemporaries ignore them." My father in-law is a hero. He is a master negotiator/labor expert for (one of) the Federal government's unions. He worked for the United States Forest Service as an engineer, designing roads, and with his wife, manning forest lookout towers, watching for smoke from lightning strikes. He made a little stool for my future mother in-law to sit on. It had for feet those glass insulators they used to have on phone poles. She would perch on it during thunder storms, and read.
He was vice-president, then president of The National Federation of Federal Employees, affectionately known as "Niffie." He keeps management honest, or at least on its toes. I know he has saved careers, and for all intents and purposes, lives.
In 1987, when half the country's forests were on fire, I worked in a fire camp for about two months. Fire camp is a base of operations, a sort of city at the edge of flames. I worked in supply, twelve hours on, twelve hours off. We handed out the tools for the firefighters. They would line up in these great National Guard trucks early in the morning, and we would stock them with all the tools they needed for battle (for battle is what it was).
The government called it "The siege of '87." I still have my pin, and I wore it when my father in-law was in town for business this past week. But it is my mini-Mag light I'm really proud of: I found it in the mailbox one day, at our home in Southern Oregon, my wife and me. A small flashlight, a genuine Maglight, engraved with my name, and Doublehead Ranger District/Safety Award. Oh! What a great mystery that was. Nobody knew a thing, not the wife, nobody.
It was a couple of years ago that I finally learned the rest of the story. Management, in its infinite wisdom, had ordained that all the fire-bosses would receive these little flashlights as a "job well-done". My father in-law, then president of the union, said "nothing doing; if the bosses get them, everyone gets them."
These people, people like my father in-law, people standing up for big ideals and small; giving voice to those without a voice; these are the men and women who go unknown. Herein lies greatness.
Causes Cary Chrysler Supports
The power of the individual to effect change in community/society.