WEEKENDER – Column for 12/7/11
Some say that heroes are hard to find. Certainly lately here in NEPA there has been a shortage of heroic behavior going by the newspaper headlines. Heroes that had apparently been hewn out of solid granite have been turned to smoke and ash and left in smoldering ruins.
In the offices and homes of the Penn State faithful there has been a great disturbance in the force. Cherished and hard come by grip and grin photos with JoePa now languish in drawers, leaving clear traces of where they hung on walls or stood on desks. Huge grinning standups have been tossed in the attic. Christmas ornaments with Penn State logos may not be unboxed this year. And up North a bit, it’s doubtful if many will proudly sport Syracuse Orange in the wake of a similar brouhaha.
Our Northeast Pa political leaders and courthouse nobility, those who wore the robes of higher power will spend the holidays in the slammer in state issued finery. The odd (some very odd) religious leaders have been brought down by feet of clay. And on the national scene it’s even worse. Want to find out if your husband has ever had an affair? Have him run for president. Just ask Herman Cain.
Even the world of pro sports has been marred by big names being dragged through the mud. Tiger Woods changed the face of golf forever and now can’t get out of the trap he drove himself into. Where are our hero’s?
Perhaps we look in the wrong places for icons to help us navigate. Maybe we need to change our focus and look around at street level. There are heroes among us every day. Look to the soup kitchens feeding more and more hungry all the time. The workers there are tired and underappreciated but are surely heroes. Look to the homeless shelters, beleaguered, understaffed and woefully underfunded. The selfless folks who dedicate their time to the care of those unable to care for themselves deserve a pedestal.
It’s not hard once you get going. Emergency room workers who care for the sick and injured, ambulance drivers, who risk their lives to get them there, law enforcement, and firefighters, who get in harm’s way to protect and serve.
And the men and women who serve still on foreign soil in our armed forces.
Heroes are not so hard to find.