Orphan Survival Stories Index |
I suppose that I look at the term "hero" a little differently than most. Being a "hero" to me means accomplishing something special. Doing something above and beyond the call of duty.
Hitting a baseball, shooting a basketball or passing a football does not make someone a hero. In my eyes, standing up to the school bully makes someone a hero.
I once saw a young boy, about fourteen, jump into the middle of an argument between a woman and her husband. The large, two hundred pound man slapped his wife two or three times in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The young man ran up and grabbed the man's arm. The boy was hit in the face numerous times. But he never let go of the man's arm. That young man, in my book, was a hero.
Lined up on the wall in front of my desk are the black and white photos of five people. Each of them is now deceased. They are pictures of children who were raised with me in the orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida.
There is David Hutchins, Eddie Gillman, Beulah Gillman, Emmett Gillman, Eugene Caruthers and Junior Bass.
Not one of these individuals ever received one ounce of love when they were children. They were deposited in an orphanage and that is where they stayed until they died, or until they became adults. Never once were any of them hugged, or held by a mother. Never once did they catch a baseball which had been thrown to them by a father. Never once were they tickled or told that they were special. As a child in the orphanage not one of them ever owned a new set of clothes. Not once did any of them get a drink of water without first having to ask permission.
For years, and years these children were either physically or sexually abused by the Children's Home Society Orphanage, located in Jacksonville, Florida. Not once did I ever hear one of them complain. They grew up and they took it all in stride. They kept their mouths shut, they bit their tongues and they went on with their lives.
It is true that several of them went to prison. Even then they accepted their incarceration as being their own fault. Another committed suicide and took the untold story to her grave. The others suffered long hard battles with cancer. I stood watching as some of them begged to die, wishing for nothing more than to end the misery of life.
These five individuals fought demons their entire lives. Their nights were filled with never-ending nightmares and terrible dreams of yesterday. In spite of it all, not one of them ever killed, raped, beat or hurt anyone. They took it like a man, they) paid their dues, and then they died.
If there is anyone that I've known who should be considered a "hero" it is these five courageous, brave and wonderful people.