This I Believe

Kelsey - Iola, Wisconsin
Entered on December 8, 2006

My Name Tag Hero

Everyone has one – a hero who influences them and changes their life. A hero could be a mother or father, an older brother or sister, or even a grandparent. My hero, that one person who changed my life, is not any of those. In fact, my hero is a six-year-old boy from Lynn, Massachusetts. I never thought I’d find my hero 1200 miles away from my home. Then again, I never thought I would find my hero.

My trip to Boston during the summer was the second mission trip I have been a part of. My first mission to Los Angeles left me feeling saddened because of Los Angeles’s extreme ways of living. I was shocked to find people who could afford $300 jeans and people who couldn’t even afford a hamburger on the same sidewalk. So naturally, I wasn’t eager to go to Boston. I still wanted to help other people; maybe make a lasting impression or leave my mark, but I still wasn’t as enthused as I thought I should have been.

On Monday morning, I found out that I’d be working at a Boys & Girls Club camp. I was excited not because I was going to work with kids all week but because there was a pool where I’d be working. When I arrived, I jumped in the pool. The first kids I encountered were two little girls who immediately clung onto me and a boy who told me I couldn’t be in the pool because I had braces. Ha, I thought, funny.

When we got out of the pool, everyone was yelling, trying to find his or her clothes, towels, and lunchboxes. “Hey, can you tie my shoes for me?”

Bolo. When I first heard it, I remember thinking, his name rhymes with ‘polo.’ It didn’t bother me, just like the fact that I was a girl didn’t bother him. We would make jokes, he’d wear the name tag I was required to wear daily, and I would always end up being the person he’d come to if he didn’t get his way. Although I helped him throughout the week, he was the one who truly helped me. It’s hard to put into words, the way he changed my outlook on life. I guess he somehow helped me focus on the important things a little bit better, not just the things I thought were important.

There was nothing truly significant that happened to help me realize that Bolo was my hero. I believe you just know when someone has changed your life and has influenced you in more ways than one. I’d never thought in a million years I would find my hero so far away from home, let alone, finding one at all. No matter how significant or insignificant, I believe that everyone has a hero, even if that hero has not yet come into their life. This, I believe.