Archived Story

Are you a hero?

Published 9:35am Thursday, May 22, 2014

With Memorial Day fast approaching, now is a good time to think about the heroes who live and work in our communities and, perhaps, draw inspiration from their stories or actions.

We’ve had many examples of heroes in the past couple of weeks. Many are easy to spot, while others require a little more effort.

Let’s start with an easy one.

On Saturday, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kenneth Brook threw out the first pitch at the Chicago Cubs game in Wrigley Field as part of the Cubs’ Hero of the Game program. A 2000 Niles High School graduate, Brook enlisted in January of 2001 and has served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s easy to take for granted the sacrifices our American servicemen and women make each day to protect our freedoms. Thanks to people like Brook, we can afford to go about our lives without worrying about the many serious things that go on in other countries. Make sure you take the time to thank a man or woman in uniform this weekend.

Perhaps more difficult to see, Brandywine volunteer coordinator Martha Shreve is certainly a local hero.

At age 77, Shreve spends countless hours each week teaching and mentoring the children who will one day run this great country. She loves children so much that she became a volunteer after teaching in the Brandywine district for 34 years. She was even quick to return to volunteering after overcoming a serious health scare a few months ago. Every week she shows up with a positive attitude, ready to make a difference in a child’s life.

That’s dedication.

Now to the least obvious one. On Monday, David Mann was the only member of the Niles City Council to vote against allowing a Craft Beer and Wine Festival to be held in Niles. Mann knew the festival would pass and even said as much during the meeting. It would’ve been easy for him to vote “yes” for something that so many people support.

Instead, he showed courage in voting with his conscience, despite it not being the popular choice. Although we support this festival, we hope all people can follow his example and stand up for what they believe in, despite what others might think.

As you watch the parade go by this Memorial Day, take a moment to think about a hero that has touched your life in a positive way. Then think about what you can do to be a hero yourself.


Craig Haupert is the community editor for the Niles Daily Star. Call him at (269) 687-7720. Email him at

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