Another thing that I believe about most heroes is that they usually go unrecognized and when the spotlight is turned on them, they are often embarrassed by the attention.
So often in today's society, the only heroes that our children can identify are those put forward by the media. While these heroes have their place in inspiring an individual or a nation, the bar they set is often so high, that the everyday individual cannot obtain it and so can become discouraged. Other times, it seems that the media becomes focused on identifying the clay feet of the hero and those images become more the media spotlight than the achievement that first brought them to the media's attention. I have watched this phenomenon with my own children as they have idolized the likes of Michael Phelps and Miley Cyrus.
Rick and I have tried to focus our children's attention on those individuals who fulfill Christoper Reeve's description. Whether they be from our own family history, our faith or individuals within our community, I have found heroes all around to lift and inspire my children and myself to strive to be better.
One such individual is Tim Harrison. To me, he is a real hero and yes that description would make him blush if he were present when it was uttered. It will probably make him blush if he ever even reads this.
Tim became a hero to me as I watched how hard he has worked to attain his goals. Whether it be academic achievement, developing musical talent or most recently by choosing to serve an LDS mission, Tim has set a standard for his friends to follow, not through words or lecturing, but by his actions. His faithful commitment to his family, religion, friends and community have led those around him to want to strive to be better. I have never known Tim to say no when asked for help. I have watched his patience with his siblings and know that what he has more than most "adults". I know he is not perfect and that he struggles, but that is part of what has made him such a great role model - when he falls short, he diligently seeks to improve. In over eight years of knowing this young man, I can honestly say I have never seen him approach work without a smile on his face and a willingness to do what he can and what is necessary. I have also witnessed him turn down opportunities for glory and the spotlight, so that others may have a turn. Tim's graciousness and genuine concerned for others draws others to him and he is always welcoming. Tim's absence is felt by many.
I know that as Tim serves the people in South Korea, the people there will be truly blessed by his presence. I know that he will maintain that same commitment as a representative of the Savior to serve those individuals that he has shown to his family and friends here. I know for his family, these next two years will be a great sacrifice and there will be a void in their family. But I also know that through his service, his family will be blessed just as they have been blessed by his presence so far. And by doing what he should and what needs to be done, Tim has once again set a standard that others may attain.