Five Penn State students answered this question on March 16, 2012. Andrew Solomon, Kevin Hatfield, Anna Washabaugh, Abbie Torchiana and Sam Jawn defined characteristics of a hero and shared personal stories about their heroes.
Four students picked family members as their heroes. Hatfield, Solomon and Jawn noted their family members dedication to their family and others.
Hatfield and Jawn chose their mom as the hero in their life.
While Hatfield admires his mother’s dedication to her family and helping others through charity, Jawn recognizes her mother’s struggles in Honduras as a child. Although her mom only had six years of education, she pushed education on her children.
“I remember spelling my name out in macaroni when I was two and a half because it was just that important to my mom,” said Jawn.
Solomon thought his dad would be his biggest hero because of his dedication and inspiration that he has provided to his sisters and himself. He remembers how his dad wrote an inspirational letter when his sister was getting stressed out with her job search and knows that he is empathetic with the things his family goes through.
Washabaugh chose her brother as her hero due to his caring personality. He has recently moved to Iraq as a constructor and assembled music for church services on holidays such as Christmas and Easter for soldiers who are serving.
Torchiana did not choose a family member but her hero still had a great dedication to her family. As a morale captain of the Penn State Dance Marathon, Torchiana’s heroes are all of the THON children. However, she spoke about one girl specifically who is very sick but still is just happy to be with her family.
These stories of heroism have influenced these students to embody different characteristics of their heroes. Hatfield tries to put others before himself. Jawn strives to be an activist for poverty stricken people in developing countries because of her mom’s story. Torchiana tries not to sweat the little things while also helping kids who are fighting cancer.