cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
There are some obvious choices for the title "hometown hero". Our police officers and our firefighters and our health care professionals and those who serve in various capacities in local and county government. Our teachers and school administrators; our elected officials who spend their time in the pursuit of the public good, and all those who toil in the shadows helping the less fortunate among us are also some of my hometown heroes.
I see more hometown heroes most every day, though. I see the neighbor who keeps a watchful eye on his or her elderly neighbors. I see the youngster who helps a senior carry out his or her garbage. I see those who pick up litter to help keep our village beautiful. I see the person who spends his or her time helping care for a person who is living out the last days on our earth. I see friends who show up to help other friends move to a new home.
I see the people who offer a smile and friendly hello to those they meet even though they may not know those people. I see those who are giving of themselves through their churches and their social groups to help others in times of need. I see the scouts who identify projects they can work on, the civic group members who devote countless hours to their communities, the retirees who help out here and there, sometimes in organized efforts and sometimes on an ad hoc basis.
Each of us has the opportunity many times during a day to be among the hometown heroes by offering a smile, or a helping hand, or encouragement, or by calling a sick friend or bringing groceries to a person unable to get out. We might simply take a book back to the library even though it isn't due for a week or two. We might chase down a piece of blowing paper or plastic and see it securely into a trash container. We might let someone know they dropped something rather than to just ignore it.
All of this goes to the larger point. We tend, I believe, to care for one and other even without being directed to do so by an authority figure. We don't rely upon a new village program or on our church or on the group of which we're a member. I would like to think that most of us are inherently good and considerate of others. These are hometown heroes every bit as much as those I've touched on above.
Sure, there are the exceptions to this supposition and we see them often. But, maybe, just maybe, we will set a good example for one of those who is less than thoughtful by our own actions. And, maybe that one example will prove to have been that which tipped the balance for that person.
We should always try to be our own little version of the hometown hero for many reasons. That is what our creator would expect of us. That is what makes each of us feel just a bit better about self while doing good for another. Our simple extra step might well be the last nudge needed by someone who observes our action and that person may become a hometown hero as the result.
So often, we never know whom we may've touched; it is important that we always try to have touched people positively. If we're going to be an example, then let us be good examples.