A Hero for Life

By Lydia C.

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My grandfather, Patrick Horgan, is a generous man. Although an apparent and significant part of his life occurred when he boxed in his childhood and won the championship for his division, he has also been generous through helping America in the Vietnam War. He has worked at a church's Sunday School to help develop the childrens' lifelong morals, like he has developed my mother's, sister's, and mine. My grandfather is my hero for his variety of interests and the many forms of generosity he has shown throughout his life.

What is a hero?

I wrote the essay below to strengthen my definition of a hero. This essay not only helped me to chose my personal hero, but it also helped me to determine what the best parts of my grandfather's life to display on this website.

A True Hero

According to Dictionary.com, a hero is “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” This definition creates the stereotypical hero in the reader’s head: Superman, maybe Spider-Man, possibly Batman. Others may think of famous world-changing people like Martin Luther King Jr. or Malala. This definition fails to recognize that someone does not need supernatural powers or fame to be considered a hero. Heroes set examples by their actions, dialogue, or personalities while helping others define themselves.


A hero is the mother that sets examples for her children by her actions, dialogue, and personality. Imagine a mother that goes back to college in her later years of life. Consider the effect this would have on her children when they discover their mother is trying her best to achieve her dream for her future. This mother would be striving for success and showing commitment when she demonstrates how it is never too late to receive a full education. Her children would follow the positive example that their mother set by going back to school. This mother would not only set an example for just her children, but for anyone that knew her. Because she was setting an example through her actions and personality, this mother is a hero.


A hero is the friend that expresses their opinions and lifestyle, helping you to define yourself. Two best friends, Lucy and Ethel, have strong opinions and morals. Both Lucy and Ethel believe trust is the most important part of a friendship. When considering taste in songs, Lucy believes that "Beekeeper" is a deep and meaningful song while Ethel believes that "Shake it Out" better fits the definition of a great song. Their similar and differing opinions allow them to strengthen their beliefs based on what the other expresses. They might even alter their beliefs after hearing what their friend has to say about a certain topic. By helping each other discover their true selves, Lucy and Ethel are both heroes.


Real life heroes are often passed by without notice. When we expect them to be images of what we see portrayed on TV, we lose sight of what really makes those people special. It isn’t the super strength or super speed that is important. What’s important is what you would see on the inside of a hero. You would see someone that does good deeds, making them a role-model for others. You would see someone that has strong and valuable opinions, helping you to find yours. By being themselves, a hero makes you truly you.

Who are examples of heroes?

I wrote "A Hero's Legacy" essay to explain what makes Martin Luther King a hero. I also compared my grandfather's hero qualities to Martin Luther King's.

My personal hero, my grandfather, may have been into rougher activities like boxing in his childhood, but his personality has changed dramatically since his teenage years. I chose my project to be centered around his newer hobby: gardening. I can clearly remember summers when I went over to his house to find rows and rows of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and more. I have even tried them and was delighted with the taste of home grown foods. I would love to learn how to garden the way my grandfather does, so this project was perfect for me. I added a small portion to the project about cooking with homegrown foods because it reflects one of my current passions in life: cooking. Because of this project, I have become a better chef as well as become inspired to garden more often. Click the button below to view the cooking and gardening webpage I created.

Who was Patrick Horgan?

What words describe him?

A Final Tribute to my Grandfather

I wrote this poem in honor of my hero. It represents the effect my grandfather has had on others and the variety of experiences he has had throughout his life.

How He Takes to the Skies

He takes to the skies

Stays safe from harm

Oh how he flies

Finds another charm

Adding fatherhood to his collection

Generosity is the next lesson

Towards children he has shown affection

Revealing the lives they have been blessed in

At a change of heart

From his past recreation

He finds a new start

A backyard garden creation

In a different direction he flies

How he takes to the skies!