My Hero Definition

The definition of a hero could be someone who you idolize, someone who does something commendable and significant (either for you personally, the world, or both), someone who affects life in a positive way and is a valuable addition to the world and/or someone who possesses admirable qualities. If any aspect of that definition applies to you then there is a great chance that you are a hero to somebody. Alyce Putnam, my great grandmother on my mother’s side, is my hero. At 94 years of age, she is the oldest grandparent that I have.

She’s my hero for a multitude of reasons, some of which include the qualities she possesses and her daily actions. She inspires me due to how she has handled complex and different situations in her life and makes me want to be similar to her. Over the years, she has only become stronger and more generous, causing me to view her as a role model for how I want to be while I grow up. Between her kind words and actions, it is quite easy to love her and her personality, and it becomes evident why someone would see her as a hero.

Considering the fact that my great grandmother has been alive for nearly a century, she has been alive during rough periods of time in history, including the Great Depression, World War II and the Holocaust. However, these events never affected her personally, and she has had to endure many other painful experiences throughout her lifetime. During her childhood, she grew up with two brothers and a sister in a house in Beverly. In her mid-20s, she got married to a man named Madison Gardner Putnam, who lived in Marblehead, which is the town she has resided in since their marriage.

Maddie’s charisma and kindness made him a popular member of the town and if anyone visited Marblehead today, they could find multiple places named after him such as the Madison Putnam Field at Gatchell’s Park and a restaurant called “The Sail Loft” nicknamed Maddie’s. The two of them were very happy together but unfortunately, Maddie had athletic heart syndrome, and died in his sleep from a heart attack. Back then, most people did not get remarried if their spouse passed away, therefore she has been a widow since she was only 37 years old (making her a widow for 57 years and counting).

In the late 1950s, women generally did not have jobs that could support them due to the fact that it was the husband’s job and their role was to run the household. Since they had 2 daughters together prior to his death, if my great grandmother did not find a job to support her family, they would have become impoverished. So, she got a decent job working at the Salem Evening News and throughout her 29 year employment there, she eventually made her way up to a high regarded position.

After she resigned from the Salem News, she retired and now she lives in an elderly housing complex where one of her daughters also lives. Through these difficult times, my great grandmother has always remained kindhearted and an optimistic person to be around, and that’s why I deem her my hero. Being my great grandmother during her childhood and the period of time after her husband died sounds incredibly exhausting and it makes me proud to see her today, still strong and caring.

Not a lot of people can go through numerous situations such as these at once and remain as optimistic as her. Throughout her entire life, her family faced financial struggles yet she appreciated what she had and focused on improving their situation without sulking about it. Despite the fact that her husband’s death devastated her and happened too soon, instead of taking the time to feel sorry for herself, she chose a path to provide her and her daughters a positive outlook on life and give them hope that everything would be okay.

Considering that women in the 1950s generally did not work jobs that could support a family, her persistence in finding a job that supplied her with enough money gives me another reason to admire her because it proves her strength and dedication to family. I personally believe that dedication to family is one of the few characteristics that anybody I would consider my hero must hold since it displays selflessness and warmth. Today, she maintains an extremely close relationship with her daughters, grandkids and great grandkids.

Additionally, she has maintained strong relationships with her friends; every month, she goes out for dinner with coworkers from the Salem Evening News. Rather than push away these people in rough times and crave sympathy, she made the best of what she had and did not focus on what her life lacked. All of these positive traits combine to make the hero that is my great grandmother. When someone says the word “hero”, most people imagine a person who is rescuing someone or something from a burning building or a person who is quite brave and defends the weaker link.

However, there is so much more to a hero than those stereotypical ideas. If you think about it, almost anybody that you know could be a hero. The qualities of a true hero are inside of everyone and all it takes is the right opportunity for one to showcase them. For the most part, everyone holds their own personal opinion of the definition of a hero and what a hero means to them. Therefore, it happens to be that my great grandmother is my hero for a number of reasons such as her determination, endurance, persistence, optimism, warmth, selflessness and kindheartedness.

What truly makes her my hero is that she inspires me to possess all these qualities mentioned as well and grow similarly as a person throughout my life. The way she handled everything thrown her way was admirable and not many people could deal with problems like my great grandmother’s with such poise and optimism. The difference between a hero and just another average person is that the average person has the ability to succeed within them, but a hero utilizes their abilities for the greater good.