How Do We Recognize Heroes?Are they comic book figures…the likes of Superman, Batman, and Captain America? Are they the members of the baseball team that won the World Series or the football team that won the Super Bowl?  An MVP of one of those sports?  No.

Heroes are just ordinary people.  You just don’t notice them.  They don’t wear a cape with a big red “S.”  You can’t see them coming to save the day.   Heroes are your next door neighbor who helps you pick up a bag of groceries when the bag rips, spilling the contents in your driveway at the end of a long day.   Heroes are the stranger who stops to help you when your car has run out of gas a mile from the gas station.

Heroes are the fireman that helps get your cat out of the neighbor’s tree, or in this case they are the policeman.  In July, Orange County Deputies Shayne Stiefel and Gilbert Lascurain were on routine patrol in Yorba Linda, California.

Near the intersection of Bastanchury and Clydesdale Roads they found a taxi cab that was on fire.  Smoke was billowing from under the vehicle.  The Deputies called for the fire department to respond and then approached the vehicle.  Surprisingly, they discovered that the driver was still inside.

They shouted at the driver, but he did not respond to their attempts to get him to acknowledge their presence.  There was something wrong.  The driver’s lack of response and failure to attempt to get out of the burning car raised the fears of the deputies.

They drew their weapons in response to the drivers’ inappropriate actions.  They had to be prepared for the worst possible scenario.  They didn’t know who they were dealing with, but they knew the danger and the possible disastrous outcome.  The deputies continued to shout at the driver in an attempt to get his attention and warn him of the danger.  Still the driver was oblivious to their presence or the situation he was in.

The car started burning on the passenger side.  The flames, smoke and heat were driving the officers away from the vehicle.   The deputies couldn’t just let this man be burned to death or die of smoke inhalation.  The deputies charged up to the driver’s side door.  Ignoring the danger to themselves, they pried opened the door and cut the driver’s seat belt to free him.  The deputies pulled him out of the car to safety as the flames fully engulfed the vehicle.

So, who are these officers?  Just normal everyday people who care about others.  They are your neighbor, the fireman, the policeman, or military personnel who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.

Most people don’t know the soldier, police officer, deputy or state trooper that lives next door to them.  These people are standing guard, willing to do violence, to protect us so we can sleep peacefully at night.

These people are ordinary men and women who do ordinary things in extraordinary circumstances.  Risking their lives every day.  And, sometimes, they die protecting us.

Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John15:13)

So, who is a hero? Who should be called a hero?  How do we measure what a hero is? Should ordinary citizens reevaluate heroic standards?  We see heroes in action every day, we just don’t recognize them.  Are they a “Clark Kent” or a “Bruce Wayne” ?  Or are they Deputies Stiefel and Lascurain ?  Are they make believe or are they real people?  Only you can make that determination.  How high are your standards of judgment to label someone as a hero?

Does a hero walk down the street next to you?  Only the circumstances and that person’s response will tell.  You won’t see him coming.  Chances are, if you call him one, he will deny it.  Maybe he will say, “Naw, it was nothing!” or “I was only doing my job!”

Heroes walk among us.

To learn more:

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