DEAR ABBY: A while back you asked your readers to name their heroes. May I contribute?
My heroes are nameless, often faceless and in most cases unsung. They will never have 15 minutes of fame. Their deeds won't be recorded in history books, but their kindness inspires and their good deeds will forever affect the lives of others -- though some may not realize it.
My heroes are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, foster parents, teachers, playground monitors and crossing guards who teach others to have values and common sense, and to be ethical in their treatment of others.
My heroes are young girls who spend a year grooming and conditioning their hair, then cut it off so it may be given to a child who has none; those who pick up trash along the highways and byways to keep America clean; police officers who stop you because you've done something stupid, then let you go because they know you made an honest mistake and you'll be sure not to do it again.
My heroes are the guys on the garbage truck who take a few extra seconds to pick up the items that didn't make it into the truck and make sure your receptacle is upright and undamaged before moving on to the next house; grownups who hold children's hands in parking lots to keep them safe; teachers who stay after school to help a student struggling with homework, a troubled home life or homelessness.
My heroes are strangers on streets and in buildings who take a moment to ask if they can help you because of the uncertain expression on your face; every shelter worker who has ever cried when a homeless or abused creature was euthanized; my dear father, whose strong hands, often bruised and bloodied, made a living for his family, who gently held his frightened little girl and who often shared more than he could afford with others less fortunate than he. These are my heroes. -- JULIE IN SCOTT CITY, MO.
DEAR JULIE: Thank you for taking the time to describe your many heroes. On this day of all days, let us all give thanks for those individuals who have made -- and continue to make -- a positive difference in our lives.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! -- Love, ABBY