by Keli Gwyn (@KeliGwyn)
My hometown of Placerville, California is awash with heroes. The King Fire, which is currently the nation's highest priority fire, is raging just ten miles away. While my town and my home aren't threatened, many towns and homes nearby are.
Enter the heroes, some 7,952 of them as of the time this post went live. These firefighters, law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel are battling a blaze that began Saturday, September 13. It started small but quickly spread and is currently listed as being 92,960 acres.
The fire's southern incident command center is set up at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds next door to my favorite supermarket. Fire engines fill the parking lot, along with a line of mobile sleeping units. The air conditioners hum loudly while exhausted firefighters inside try to grab some shut-eye.
Three days into the fire, I spotted the crew shown above picking up a few items in the store. I thanked them, shook their hands and asked if they'd pose for a picture. They readily agreed, but they wanted me to stand with them. I declined, saying I wasn't a hero; they were.
When I went to my local Walmart a few days later, I noticed a number of engines in the parking lot. I was able to get this picture of one of them with a couple members of the crew. Once again, when I asked the firefighters to pose, they insisted I be in the shot instead of them.
This led me to the conclusion that one of the major characteristics of a hero is humility. The many men and women I've encountered as I've rubbed elbows with the firefighters don't see themselves as heroes. They often shrug with embarrassment and tell me they're just doing their job.
These dedicated men and women are doing their jobs and doing them well. They're working long shifts in horrific conditions with no days off. They're missing their loved ones back home. One thing they're not doing is complaining. On the contrary. They're kind, courteous and grateful for the smallest of things.
My local Curves coaches met to pass out Otter Pops to the firefighters on a hot afternoon, and I was honored to join them. As I handed out the simple treats, I was greeted with ready smiles and a chorus of enthusiastic thank you's.
Based on my experience with these heroes in my hometown, a hero is hardworking and humble, kind and courteous, brave and sometimes even bashful. These traits are much the same as those I've seen heroes in stories portray.
If you were to expand the list of traits a hero possesses, which would you include?