You're My Hero!

Molly Newman
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More Stories About Heroes

Although we didn't have room to show every layout, we found some stories so touching we wanted to share them with our readers. These heroes are excellent examples for us all, exhibiting strength, courage, compassion and willpower in many different ways. We think you'll enjoy reading about these inspiring role models—some "heroes" in a very unconventional sense of the word.

Alison Adams, St. George, Utah. When Alison's family visited Washington, D.C., in 1997, the many war memorials they saw reminded Alison of the great debt America owes to these heroes. At Arlington Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Vietnam Memorial, Alison found herself inspired to uphold the principles these soldiers fought and died for, reminding herself that "Freedom Isn't Free."

"Every time I pledge allegiance to the flag," Alison says, "tears come to my eyes in appreciation of what I have because of their sacrifice."

 

Lori Brofsky, Kenosha, Wisconsin. Lori's father has always appreciated and valued her independent spirit, even when he needed to teach her discipline as well. In a letter Lori included on her layout, her father wrote, "I have strong shoulders and a strong back. Grab on. It may not be a smooth ride, but I'll help you through anything."

With her hero's support giving her confidence, Lori moves through life knowing that she is always loved and valued by her family.

Pattie Debowski, Fountain Valley, California. When high school football coach George Berg resigned after eight years, his leaving had a special impact on Pattie's family. Although Coach Berg's impressive win-loss record made him a hero in the eyes of many community members, the lessons he taught Pattie's son about sportsmanship, determination, and the importance of character were far more important in the Debowski family's eyes.

Kandie Esch, McCook, Nebraska. When Kandie's juvenile diabetes threatened her life, she needed a kidney donor to step in and save the day. Kandie's identical twin, Kim, volunteered to donate a healthy kidney to her sister—just eight weeks after Kim's daughter was born. The operation went well, and both sisters are now doing fine. Kim's first words after recovery: "Ow, it hurts! How's Kandie?" Kandie first words? "Ow, it hurts! How's Kim?"

Nanci Evans, Nampa, Idaho. Nancy's hero has four legs, a flowing white mane, and "a heart as big as a mountain." Her horse, Crystal, has been her partner in rodeo riding for many years.

Four years ago, Crystal was afflicted with a rare disease that caused her to lose sight in both eyes. Nanci thought their partnership was over. But Crystal's special bond with Nanci was strong enough to overcome her disability. Now Nanci rides Crystal in a special solo event, called the Liberty Act, where Crystal is guided by Nanci's voice and body commands alone. Their partnership has warmed the hearts of rodeo audiences across the West.



You're My Hero!
 
Sandy Kisamore, North Charleston, South Carolina. Sandy's brother Richard can truly be said to have "grace under fire." A city fireman, he has overcome a childhood fear of heights and gone on to fight fires in homes, warehouses and office buildings.

"He would never even go on a Ferris wheel or roller coaster," says Sandy, "but now he climbs 50-foot towers with a 70-pound pack on his back as part of his training." With his First Responder experience, Richard has saved people's lives in all kinds of emergency situations.

Sunny Kohler, Midway, Utah. Sunny's second-grade teacher, Mrs. Jordon-Jensen, has a special way with students. She took the time to encourage Sunny personally, giving her extra attention and compassion during a tough year in Sunny's life.

"During the school year, my parents got a divorce and both of my grandmothers died," Sunny says. "But Mrs. Jordon-Jensen always encouraged me. She even took me out to dinner and a movie when I got 100 percent on all my spelling tests."



You're My Hero!
 
Emily Meachen, Pearland, Texas. As a teacher in a small town in central Texas, Emily found herself inspired by a whole classroom of heroes. The teenagers she saw every day uplifted her with their enthusiasm for life and their futures. "These kids were stereotyped by society and the media as slackers," Emily says, "but they were actually the opposite. They cared about school, they cared about the community, and they cared about each other."

Laura Nicholas, Beaverton, Oregon. Five years ago, Laura's niece, Miranda, started experiencing excruciating pain in her head. She had a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in her brain that had begun to bleed. Laura began the first in a series of difficult radiation treatments.

Despite the painful procedures and lengthy hospital stays, Miranda has been able to carry on the life of a normal, successful teenager. She keeps her grades high, plays on her school's volleyball and softball teams, and volunteers for many community organizations.

Jyl Read, American Fork, Utah. The hero of Jyl's children is, without question, their super-cool Uncle Lloyd! A scientist who travels around the world studying carnivorous plants, Lloyd always finds time to return home and share special fun with his niece and nephew.

Lloyd investigates fun things with the kids, such as snails and leeches. He writes them long letters, describing his adventures in places like Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil.

Lynn Richardson, Deodate, Pennsylvania. Lynn's Aunt Helen personified the value of self-sacrifice. When Helen's younger sister, Lynn's grandmother, grew sick and eventually died, Helen stepped in to raise her sister's two children as her own.

Helen later moved into her mother's home to care for her in the last years of her life, then took on the role of grandmother to Lynn and her family. She taught Lynn the joy of simple things, like baking cookies and biscuits or planting flowers in the front yard.

Jacquie Ross, Los Gatos, California. After a serious car accident in November 1999, Jacquie needed a little help to take care of her home and her daughter, Shannon. Cathy, a friend with a son Shannon's age, stepped in and helped speed Jacquie's recovery while boosting her spirits. "Cathy will always go out of her way to help in any way she can," Jacquie says. "She's always the person who's organizing, volunteering, keeping things rolling smoothly at every event."

Linda Utley, Taylorsville, Utah. In 1952, Linda's father Horst boarded a ship alone, leaving war-ravaged Germany for the promise of a new life in the United States. As he sailed into New York Harbor by the glow of the Statue of Liberty's torch, he took the first heroic step toward beginning his American family. Horst went on to raise eight children with Linda's mother, teaching them all the importance of living in a free country.

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