When the word ‘hero’ comes to mind people are quick to think about superman, maybe someone who saved someone else’s life, but heroes don’t always save lives, sometimes they are helping at a homeless shelter, volunteering at a food bank, or maybe providing support and help for those who are struggling.
There are stories about heroes saving lives, or some about heroes impacting lives, but do we ever hear or read about the heroes who are unnoticed yet make a huge difference in people’s lives? Once in a while, but usually not, unless it’s huge because then that’s when it gets everybody’s attention and it matters right?
Society often labels heroes as lifesavers, such as doctors, veterans, military, police, teachers, etc. So What exactly is a hero? A hero isn’t always someone big and strong, a hero can be anyone, big or small, male or female, child or adult, etc. As we get older we will start to realize and notice that we are surrounded by heroes, our perceptions change. We start to notice, the heroes we didn’t before, how they impact other people’s lives and why they do it.
Unnoticed heroes can be anyone, and can do anything, being a hero doesn’t always mean saving someone’s life. It can be as small as helping a friend out, or as big as saving a life. Heros often help someone because they understand what they are going through or what they are feeling. They understand what it is like to be in their positions whether it’s because they have been in that situation or because they knew someone in it. Melissa Porras-Monroe is my hero, notice how you don’t recognize the name because she’s not ‘famous’. Well, that doesn’t affect what Melissa does or how she does it, Melissa works at Green River-College, teaching OTA(occupational therapy assistant). So how is she heroic? Melissa is heroic because she can help, support, and provide resources for her students who can afford things, for example, financial aid, or asking the college to lend the student books because they can’t afford it.
Melissa said “kids don’t all have the same opportunities, and some have good coping mechanisms and some don’t. For some people, it’s hard to talk about their personal life and what they are struggling with, so I try to make it as easy for them to come to me as possible.” Which explains that Melissa notices what is going on, but does just let it go on, Melissa puts the extra effort into helping, providing, and supporting the students even though it’s not her responsibility. Some people wouldn’t give people the time of day to help people like this, but why does she do it?
Melissa simply does it because growing up her family were poor, but her parents Theresa and Randell still put her and her two older sisters Snookie and Randi-Ann through a private school. Both of her parents started very low in their jobs but worked hard to make it to the top, for example, Melissa says “Both of my parents worked from the bottom to the very top, my mother started as a sales associate and ended as a corporate manager, while my father was a sales manager at a linen company” explaining that she knows where her parents come from and she knows that her hard work can pay off, just like her parents. The bigger question is, why does she continue to do it, why does she help people when it’s not her responsibility? But again that’s a question for everyone, why do we do it?
Most of the time we won’t see news articles or movies about people who did small things that were heroic, but when someone saves a person’s life it’s the new headline. For example on king 5 news, there was a headline saying, “Hero’s actions in SPU shooting” but you won’t see, “Teacher helping students who don’t have opportunities” We only see the big successes, heroes don’t have to save lives they can do anything, just like Melissa, she isn’t saving lives but she’s helping them. So why does Melissa continue to do it when she doesn’t get any attention from the media? Why do something that you don’t have to do
the events in a person’s life can affect the person’s actions in the future or even how they live, how they act, or what they choose to do. Heros are often motivated because of how they grew up because they understand what is happening in the people’s lives that they are helping, or maybe its completely unrelated, but in this case its the reason that Melissa helps her students.
During the interview, I had asked Melissa what motivated her to be helping people, and she replied with, “The people who inspire and motivate her are her mom, dad, and one of her older sisters. Because her mom and dad worked very hard to get to the top, her older sister always took care of her growing up,” she had also included that her older sister was like a mother figure because she had taken care of her so often. What Melissa said explains who her heroes are, and why they motivate her to continue doing what she does.
Throughout the interview, Melissa had shared her heroic actions, but I was more curious as to what event led her to those actions. I had asked, “What is an important event in your life, in which you have guided you to be helping your students?” She then replied with “although I wasn’t wasn’t the first person between my sisters to go to college, my parents always helped and supported me moving out of state to attend college in Washington.” She went on to explain how either of her parents attended college, and that her father had never finished high school. During the interview, I had also asked who she would owe her dedication to, and she said “my parents, sisters, friends, and myself. without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and although it’s hard to stay motivated sometimes I still push through it.”
Learning all this about melissa was a great experience, but it leads me to wonder how to connect her from our lesson, not how, but who.
Often people are compared to other people, throughout our hero unit, as a class we read about different people in society, their heroic actions, and how their actions impacted others. In this lesson my perspective changed on what I consider as a hero, that’s why I chose Melissa because my perspective changed, but why does she relate to the lesson? Well for starters Melissa is my hero, and because she closely resembles one of the characters we had read about, which is Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones.
In this lesson, we needed to make connections between one of the heroes in our unit and the hero that we chose. I think she related to the character Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones in “Thank You Ma’am” because when people make mistakes she gives them another chance, and instead of never talking to them again she helps them learn from their mistakes because she understands. In the story, the boy tries to steal the ladies purse and instead of bringing him into the polices she helps him learn, it says in paragraph 33 it says “‘I were young once and I wanted things I could not get.’” And in paragraph 35 it says “Uh-hum you thought I was going to says but, didn’t you? You thought I was going to say but I didn’t snatch people’s pocketbooks.
Well, I wasn’t going to say that’ pause in silence. ‘I have done things to which I would not tell you son- neither go if he didn’t already know.’” It shows how she understands the position he is in, and that she feels sympathetic for him and that she wants to help. This relates to Melissa because her life story is that she grew up poor, and a problem that she noticed was while teaching at Green River Community college she sees that not all kids have the same opportunities, and instead of failing them, she helps them. This is because in my answers it says “‘I support them by giving them sources to be successful which include food banks to financial.’” Which I feel says a lot about who she is as a person, someone who cares, who wants to help and understand the situation rather than just judge them from afar.
Although both Melissa and Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones helped different people, they both had roughly the same reasoning for why they help. which, had included their past stating why they understand the situation of who they are helping. For example, Mrs. Luella bates Washington Jones says in paragraph 33 “I were young once and I wanted things I could not get.’” vs. what Melissa says when I later asked her “does it have something to do with your childhood and growing up” Melissa replied with “yes, growing up we were poor, and couldn’t afford many things, but my parents still had allowed my sister and I to go to private school. Also that they had supported my decision for moving out of state to college even though it was expensive” Both of these explanations that both Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and Melissa recognize the problem that arises and they offer to help. Instead of getting mad at them, they teach them less, that it better to ask for help, instead of waiting for someone to notice.