I hope this isn't too sappy, but I take this seriously. That being said, my hero is...
I know I should say it's one of my parents, or my brother, or (as a resident of Nebraska) Tom Osborne, but it isn't. I once worked, for quite some time, at Coca-Cola Ent. in their distribution warehose here in Omaha. I worked with a gentleman, J. Tapley who, over the two years I worked there, became my hero. This is a man who has seen his fare share of the short end on the stick, yet continues to force his way forward. He's a black gentleman who grew up in Omaha during the 50's and 60's, enduring the race riots and the bussing/integration backlash. He's endured "white-flight" and the incredibly segregated town that was Omaha. Omaha is still a fairly segregated city, mind you, but the borders are not so much racial any longer as they are pecuniary. It is imperative that I mention the great strides that have been taken to open the city and foster growth and integration (no flames please
Mr. Tapley, in order to make ends meet, worked two full-time jobs: the one at the warehouse with me and he was the CEO of his own office cleaning company during the evenings. His family is the most important thing in his life. And no matter how tough things got he refused to do either of two things. First, he refused to accept handouts such as welfare (Medicaid, EBT, etc.) because, to quote him, "there is always someone more in need than me." Secondly, and most importantly, he did everything in his power to not blame the problems in his life on racism. This is what amazed my the most. How easy it is to stare into the eyes of that beast day-in and day-out, yet stand tall in the end. I cannot tell you just how much I admire the intrepidation, strength, and compassion of this person and what affect our talks had on my view of life. I grew up in a lower-middle class family, searching through remnant bins at the fabric store for enough material inorder for mom to make an outfit; I empathize with where he came from. I wish there were more people like him in the world.
Mr. Tapley, I never told you how you inspired me, thank you.
Edited by drunkle, 19 November 2007 - 10:00 PM.