My hero doesn’t need a uniform



June 19, 2015 - 12:00 AM

I know most kids say their dad is their hero but my dad really is mine.
I grew up as a fire chief’s daughter. Sirens, pagers, ambulances and cool uniforms were always a part of my environment. When I was young I loved to tell my friends about how my dad drove a fire truck and saved hurt people. His schedule was hectic, to say the least. It was not uncommon to spend a Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthday at the Neodesha Fire Station because my dad had to work. Sometimes he would be called into work just as we sat down to cut the Thanksgiving turkey. It seemed natural and I didn’t realize until I was older that not everyone’s family was like mine.
His compassion toward other people is something I truly admire. Once a call is over the patient doesn’t leave my dad’s thoughts. He is part of the Kansas Firefighters Honor Guard and he attends the funerals of fallen fire fighters to honor them. I believe that takes a special person.
When I hit my teenage years I would be frustrated when he made me get double the driving permit required hours. I would overreact when he said I couldn’t ride in my friend’s car. I know now he did it out of love and wanted to protect me from the horrors he saw at previous car accidents.
His career may keep him busy but he was never too busy for my mom, sister, brother or me. He helped coach our little league games and made sure to video tape my high school plays. Some of my favorite memories with him are attending Royals games. On vacation he would take us to watch a Major League Baseball game and it is because of my dad that I love the sport.
At a young age I knew I wanted to become a reporter. Dad would get out the video camera and I would interview my siblings in a weird British accent (I was a theatrical child). I would constantly talk about how I wanted to be a Jayhawk and go to “our” favorite school. My mom and dad always encouraged me to follow that dream. When I graduated from high school and went to Butler Community College on a magazine scholarship the encouragement never stopped. Some days I would call home crying about how I was struggling in a class and I would never make it to the University of Kansas. Dad disagreed.
At KU they have a traditional ceremony where the graduates walk through the bell tower and down the hill. Friends and family line up along the course to see their graduates walk to the stadium. I will never forget the look on my dad’s face when I spotted my parents on the hill. He looked as if he was going to explode from happiness. I went into college wanting to become a journalist but my end goal was to know my parents were proud of me.
My dad is not my hero because he puts on a uniform and drives a big red truck. My dad is my hero because he has been my rock through it all and I’m forever grateful.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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