My hero

  • Published
  • By Alvin Strait
  • 21st Space Wing Director of Staff
We all have heroes or people we respect. Every year we celebrate numerous holidays and special observances. This Sunday we will have the opportunity to honor our fathers.

While my father may have never heard of the Air Forces Core Values, he was definitely a person who lived them. As a young kid growing up, I could not ask for a better mentor or example. He was indeed my hero and gave our family an early start on doing what was right. As you break down the Air Force core values, I can relate numerous examples of how my father set the example. All of these examples are simple in nature, but this defined my dad. He did not seek the spotlight, he did not care who received the praise. He just did the job and took care of business.

First in the area of "Integrity First," Dad served proudly in the United States Army as an infantry member. He was in the Philippine campaign where he was awarded two Purple Hearts. Dad never talked much about the war until he was in the hospital at the end of his life. As I listened to only a few of his stories and experiences, I wondered what other stories would go untold and how those experiences shaped his life. He loved our country with a passion and fully understood the price paid for our freedom.

In regard to "Excellence in all we do," Dad taught all of his children early on in life the importance of having a good work ethic. Like many Americans of that generation, he worked hard and never complained about working. He always provided for the family and we had all we needed to enjoy life. Dad was a firm believer if you had a job to do, do it right because you were putting your name on the final product. It is a reflection on who you are and the quality of work you do.

Finally, in "Service before Self," Dad was always giving to our small community. He served as the community scout master for more than 32 years and was the volunteer fire department chaplain for 39 years. Also, he was always assisting community members who needed help. He found a lot of joy in giving to others.

I don't share these stories about my dad to brag. I share these stories and events to capture a man who had all the things he needed in his life. He loved his country, he loved his family, and he worked hard and was proud of who he was and what he did. I think all of us sometimes take the good things in life for granted and we may not always take the time to say thank you or let someone know how special they are. While Dad and I did share special times and special events, I reflect back and wonder if I did my part in letting him know how proud I was of him. I also wonder if I told him often enough the positive role model he was for me and the impact he had on my life.

Someone once said, "keep company with good men and good men you will imitate." My father was that good man and I am proud to call him my hero. As we honor fathers this weekend, tell your father or find a father and tell him thanks for all he does.