Locala Magazine, July 2021

07/01/2021 12:06 AM By Lisa Anderson
July 2021, Vol. 1, Issue No. 2

Everyday Heroes

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Corrections: James is remarried. / Janet Shelley's teaching career spanned 33 years.

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Letter from the Publisher

Dear Ocala,

How do you define a hero? Is it a Marvel or DC character with special powers? What about a first responder or heart surgeon?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary lists many definitions. Here are just a few:

• A mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.

• An illustrious warrior.

• A person admired for achievements and noble qualities.

• One who shows great courage.

• The central figure in an event, period, or movement.

• An object of extreme admiration and devotion.

    Over the last few years, I began to rethink my personal definition of a hero and what it means to the person who is labeled as one. I see heroes in everyday people who do the jobs most of us don’t want to do. During a pandemic, delivery drivers (food and packages), servers, cashiers, truck drivers, city employees, and anyone who kept doing their jobs, while the rest of us stayed safe in our homes, have become everyday heroes. I think about the healthcare workers, who risked their lives and the lives of their families by showing up to do their jobs and the teachers, who went back to classrooms.

    I also see heroes in the people who hit rock bottom, but climbed their way back out and found the strength to help others. It is societal instinct to immediately judge a mom, who has her children taken away, but what is her story? What led her to that moment, and how did she find the strength to pick herself back up again? The question becomes, could you do it, if you were in her shoes?

    We should be careful, though, with trapping a person into the role of hero, because if we only see and expect a hero, we can forget about human fragility. For this reason, I sat down with firefighter/paramedic and Behind the Shield podcast host, James Geering, to discuss the mental health crisis within the first responder community. Find this story in Breaking Social Norms, page 6.

    And Chris Cahill and Trevor Bonnell tell us how your story should be the hero of your business. Hear what brought Chris and Trevor to the Q4 Quest on page 26.

    As always, I hope you enjoy learning more about the people (and heroes) in our community.

    Most Sincerely, Lisa Anderson
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