A hero can be found in all walks of life. A teenage lifeguard who notices a competitor struggling and makes the split-second decision to jump in, the young child who helps an Alzheimer’s patient get help and find his way home, a soldier who once served honorably or who is still serving, or a teacher who makes a difference in the lives of many today and in the future.


In time for the July 4th holiday, we are honoring our local heroes. Our active-duty soldiers, our veterans or any others who you can think of. Please tell us your stories in the coming weeks for our special Local Heroes section.

For me, I have many in my life who I call heroes. Heroes are about courage, they are about selflessness and they are about making a difference. More recently, I realized that my own brother is a hero. While he would likely disagree, shake his head for me writing these words or just pass it off as nothing – to me, he is and always will be an honorable guy.

My brother served honorably in the Air Force, then, he served for a few years with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and finally, he changed careers again and went into teaching. Just the number of times he’s changed careers alone is interesting, but the fact that its always in an area that gives him the opportunity to make a difference has always impressed me.

Now, my brother is taking his teaching adventures into a whole new world. He will be spending the next year in the far reaches of Alaska, teaching a class that could possibly be as small as 10 students, and learning the ways of a culture none of us can even imagine.

He will be leaving behind a car, as the community he is about to be in doesn’t have cars. Instead, he will be driving a snowmobile all winter.

He won’t be able to drive to the nearby McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat after work. In fact, he will have to hunt for his own food once he arrives there very soon. He is planning to hunt for moose, which is expected to help feed him through the winter.

There is a need for teachers in Alaska. After all, not many are willing to sacrifice so much that we take for granted in our everyday lives for the chance to teach 10 children in a small village.

When he talks about his upcoming adventure, he speaks with a passion and a certain level of excitement. When asked what on Earth he was thinking in doing this, he said, “You only live once.”

His ability to try new careers, do what it takes to try something different and make a difference in others’ lives while doing it, makes him one of those heroes who may not get a lot of attention, but is what we appreciate.

A veteran, a former member of law enforcement and now a teacher – my brother definitely fits the criteria as hero. And, his humility as I am sure he’s going to read this while shaking his head and disagreeing, makes it even more fitting.

Good luck in your newest endeavors big brother.

This is my story of a hero, now we ask the public to tell us yours. Submit your stories to thelma@tucsonlocalmedia.com, or to Chris Flora at chris@tucsonlocalmedia.com.

(1) comment

John Flanagan

I suppose it may seem petty to some, but the definition of a "hero" has changed over the past few years. Now we use the term for people with admirable traits, caring and kind individuals, people who are self sacrificing, wonderful role models and mentors, but......I like the term to be applied to mainly those individuals who show extreme courage in situations of danger, whether men or women or children. Those who give their lives to save others in a burning building, risk their lives in the face of hostile enemies, and sacrifice everything so others may live. There are many good people in this world, and worthy of our respect.....but only a few are true heroes.

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