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Old 08-30-2008, 06:37 PM
MichaelKellough's Avatar
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Default Heros

Phil Hill died.

I didn't even know about him but he was the kind of guy I really admire.

Some others,
Nikola Tesla
Eddie Rickenbacker
Buckminster Fuller
Richard Feynman
Robert Rauschenberg

Got some?
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: Heros

When I worked as a lineman my co-workers and I used to frequent a bar owned by a fellow of Italian descent. I mention his Italian heritage because it does tie in to the story I am about to tell.
The name of the bar was Vitale’s (excellent Italian cuisine) in Hometown PA. The hero of my story is Louie Vitale. After work we used to frequent Louie’s establishment for a few cold ones and the usual banter that followed the days work. Sometimes the teasing would get pretty hot and heavy and Louie would be in the thick of it.
We all knew the one sure way to get Louie to lose his temper was to start talking about the Mafia. Don’t get me wrong it was not a one way bashing, Louie used to put us “young punks” in our place on plenty of occasions. But we always parted company as friends.
Many times I had noticed several framed documents hanging at the far end of the bar that I could have easily read on my way to the Men’s Room. These frames peaked my curiosity but in my haste to quench my thirst I’d forget about them and by the time I went to the Men’s Room I’d totally forgotten about them.
One day when we stopped in I had to use the Men’s Room right away. This was the perfect opportunity for me to read these documents that I was so inquisitive about. What the documents turned out to be were citations for heroism in combat during World War II. Louie was awarded two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star. I read those citations and chills ran up my spine, the little guy we were teasing was a big time war hero. Needless to say from that day forward I never teased Louie again. As a young man it taught me a very important lesson that many times you really don’t know who you’re talking to.
As a footnote to the story, Louie sold the bar and retired back in the early eighties and many times I wondered if he passed away. He had become one of my most unforgettable people although he never knew this. Then about three months ago I saw his picture in the paper celebrating his 92nd birthday.
Louie is one of my heroes.
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Old 09-01-2008, 02:42 AM
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Default Re: Heros

Very Cool
One of mine was my first real boss, Steve.
I could write a book about him but in short, Steve was probably the first adult that treated me like an adult and expected me to act like one. Lesson 1: people will usually meet your expectations.
Steve taught me some about carpentry, but in hindsight, a lot more about people and life. I relished getting up in the morning and getting to go to work with him.
He was from Missouri and had a drawl in his voice, and many where I grew up would view that as evidence of being dumb. He let me realise that intelligence had zippo to do with where you were born, where you were at, or how much time you'd spent in a classroom. This guy knew about the world, and at 15, I think it just dazzled me.
I worked with him for 3 summers. I came to learn in that time what PTSD was (I fired a Hilti gun behind him in a room and he didn't know I was there - sobering end results), and I got to hear war stories, mostly because once I learned he was in Vietnam I wouldn't give up until he told me something. He'd been shot, bayonetted, crashed his helicopter 6 times, and had fake knees as a result. To be doing carpentry . . . wow. He said I'm not going to be able to do this forever. I believed him.
Steve bought me my first toolbelt and hammer out of his own pocket. He let me drive his truck. Super cool when you're 15. We'd stop for a cup of coffee and a doughnut at the hardware store and I just felt like an old hand.
I also found out he was dyslexic and almost illiterate. But it took me knowing him 3 years to put the pieces together. I was always the one signing things or taking a list someone made to the store to pick up supplies. I just thought he'd rather have me do errands and him work. He'd gotten through this far without letting on to many. I harped on him a lot that he had to learn to read (imagine the spunk of this kid telling the old guy to go learn something) and I found out after I'd left and gone to college that he did. He went and found a class somewhere and learned to read. A gal I knew back home talked to me on the phone about him. I hadn't seen him for over a year. She said he took some classes found a better job (back and knees were a mess) and moved.
I've always wished I could find him again.
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Old 09-01-2008, 03:22 AM
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These are great stories - thanks for sharing. I'd like to add one of my own. Not a hero, but someone who had a curiously large influence on me.

I was in my last year at university. I'd spent part of the summer doing research for my honours thesis (on sparrows), and was writing it up. Mostly at night, working in the lab of my advisor. There was a janitor in the building. I never even knew his name - I think he might have been Hungarian. He always said, "Hiya, chum!" when I saw him.

So that's what we called him: Hiya Chum.

One night I was working on analyzing the data for my thesis, and I got really stuck on something. Hiya Chum came into the lab to clean, and as always, stopped by my desk to chat. I told him that I was stumped on a particular problem. Without looking at the data, he suggested something that turned out to be the exact right approach. I've forgotten the details, but I remember the moral: you can learn something from anyone - you just might not know what it is.

I think that Hiya Chum might have come to Canada during the cold war, and the only work he could find was janitorial. Back in Hungary - or wherever he was from - he was probably a nuclear physicist or something. I was always impressed with his knowledge, and more particularly, with his wisdom. I've never forgotten him, and I've tried to be as helpful to people I meet as he was to me.
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:20 AM
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Default Re: Heros

All great stories. I love hearing about how someone, or something influenced a person. I would say that my Dad was/is my hero. I never understood some of the stuff he did when I was growing up, my parents were divorced, and when you are young, you don't always understand some of the guidelines you are suppose to follow set by the court. I feel now that I am older I am walking in his shoes, and I try to be as patient and loving to my kids as he was to us.
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Old 09-01-2008, 05:17 AM
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It is funny that you bring this up as I had this very same type of discussion at the Junkie Fest. I went on my usual rant that sport's heros are not heros. That in fact they should be some of our teachers, some of our business people, some of our politicians, (?) and all of our military. It drives me crazy that the people that teach our children, otherwise known as our most precious assets, are under paid, under appreciated and in many cases under educated.

I had a teacher in High School who I have never forgotten and never will. His name was Peter Leuty and I took three classes from him. He was also the school mean dude but as long as you stayed straight he was a mind bogglingly incredible teacher and he was my first hero.

Fred
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Old 09-01-2008, 06:20 AM
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Default Re: Heros

Thanks for filling this thread with stories of the people who still live in your hearts. The stories they inspire you to write are amazingly interesting.
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