I have been giving some thought to what it means to be a hero and who we should look up too when we talk about our heroes.  I turned to my dictionary to get the definition as I always find that the best place to start.  “A man distinguished for exceptional courage, fortitude, or bold enterprise.”  In other words going above what we would normally expect a person to do.

On Monday night, the New England Patriots slapped around the New York Jets on the grid iron.  It was a great game mainly because the Patriots won the game.  Some would call Tom Brady or for that matter other sports figures, a hero because of his ability to put the ball where he wants it most of the time.  Well that is his job!  That is not what being a hero is all about.

Last February, Southbridge Fire Lt. Jason Cantara was on vacation in Florida with his family.  Whilst traveling down the road they came upon a horrific car accident.  A U-Haul truck had lost control, struck a tree and caught fire with three people trapped inside the truck.

Lt. Cantara, and some other from passing vehicles, stopped to help and were able to pull two of the three out of the vehicle, the third man perished in the fire.  At great risk to himself, he did what needed to be done and rescued the men from the truck.  If Lt. Cantara had done this on duty I would say the same thing about him that I said about Tom Brady, it’s your job, and knowing Lt. Cantara I know he would say the same thing.  Firefighters and Police put themselves in harms way everyday, they do things that most of us would never consider doing, but they do it, willingly.  Their job is to protect and to serve and to put a fine point on it, it is to risk, and perhaps give their life to save mine.  I think it is extraordinary that they would do this, but it is their job.  Off duty is another story all together.

Lt. Cantara will be honored in a ceremony this month with other brave firefighters as one of the Firefighters of the year in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  An award most deserving I would say.

People like Lt. Cantara and the other selfless public safety servants out there are the ones we should look up too as our heroes not some sports figure.  The ability to hit a home run or the ability to throw a football is a skill and a gift but it does not come close to the risks our public safety professional make every day.  Paying someone millions of dollars to throw a ball, I think, is an absolute disgrace whilst we pay our police, fire, ems and School Teachers for that matter, such low wages.  Things seems to be upside down in our world.

Thank you to Lt. Cantara for doing what you did and thank you to all of our public safety folks who daily put their lives on the line.  God Bless all of you and your families.

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