He was born in another era, before cars and phones and even radio. He quit school after the 8th grade because that's all the school there was, and then in 1917, at age 20, he went to war in France as a dough-boy.
Raising a family in the 20s and 30s was tough since he was laid off from his railroad job with the coming of the depression, but he fed them without help from the government, sometimes stacking hay all day for 75 cents and buying food on credit until he could pay it back. And, once he got to work, he paid it back. Every cent of it.
And he was the man who would come for me as a small boy in the late 50s and 60s to take me with him "downtown" to attend to our affairs. Our affairs would include bill paying, shopping for men's clothes, and occasionally a new hat from the Dobbs store. Then we would visit the cemetery where his father lay to attend to the grave while he told me about family, and how parents and children and cousins were so very important. In his own quiet way, he allowed me to learn values like honor and integrity and honesty.
He was my grandfather, born before the first airplane, dying after the moon landings, and wise beyond all imagination. He was my hero--still is--though he died almost 30 years ago. His lasting legacy is my belief that life is good, that knowing God is important, and that a man is only a man if he takes care of his family and lives an honest life.
I believe that Pawpaw would be surprised to learn that his life was one to be emulated, one from which many of us learned key values and beliefs and came to be better men and women without being "taught." But I do know that the world is a better place because he walked upon it and lived his life with pride and honesty and honor. He's a real hero whose passing left a hole in my life, even after all these years.
He was proud that I could create construction drawings and supervise work because, he told me, his own advancement had been stalled by his lack of education. "Education is your ticket to success" he told me. He was right about that, too.
I wish everyone could have a hero like Pawpaw to grow up alongside. We'd all be better off.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories