As a kid growing up in the little East Kootenays community of Baynes Lake, I was always looking for heroes to emulate.

In my pre-teen years, most of these were of the comic book variety, e.g. Superman or Dick Tracy.

Once, in trying to imitate Superman, I leaped off the chicken house roof with only a bed sheet attached for flight. The chickens thought it was a huge raptor attacking and disappeared, quickly, inside. My mom almost died laughing as she patched me up! Iodine really stings.

Dick Tracy had a fascinating watch that he talked into and was always on the side of good. In my teens I was skeptical such watches would really appear. They did.

Most of my early sports years had the underpaid, real athletes, to picture as heroes. These included Roger Maris, Joe Kapp and Jean Beliveau. But is hard to imagine any of today’s athletes as heroes when they are so grossly overpaid. Surely, billionaires blasting off into space cannot be heroic.

So here goes with the heroes that I have learned to respect, greatly.

I will put doctors and nurses first as they usually work together. It has been a very tough couple years for them as COVID-19 loads the hospital system.

This is besides the work they do in dealing with many life or death matters. I, personally, have had heart ablation therapy which was done very efficiently, in about 15 minutes. Modern medicine can be used very miraculously. Thank you for hanging in daily.

The fire department and other first responders often deal with very ugly accidents as they pick up and clean up the pieces. They usually work long, long shifts that often play havoc with family life. This has been a very long year of fire and flood disasters. They are always there. Yes, Christmas and New Years, too. Thank you.

The local RCMP face huge daily challenges as they deal with drug problems and homelessness. It must be a major challenge for them to keep their psychological heads together, in the world of turmoil around them. Many thanks to them

Teachers, too, are the people who spend most of their waking hours thinking about their students. These students become a second family as the school becomes a safe environment for all. Thinking about students and learning at four in the morning is not a lot of fun. Most students are thankful.

Finally, I would also nominate for heroes ordinary parents. Yes, that is the moms and dads who get up each day and support their family as best they can, often in stressful jobs. Providing food, clothing, and moral/spiritual support in today’s world is essential.

Bandaging chicken house wounds, even if treated with ouchy iodine is helpful. There is nothing wrong with saying thank you to parents many times, even when you are older

My seriously naughty list would include anyone who has demonstrated or harassed any of the above without much thought or investigation. You actually caused legislation to be produced controlling where the public could demonstrate. We did lose a little of democracy because of you.

I do believe most politicians sincerely try to do as best they are able. But it is hard to see them as heroic when they lag in action on climate change resulting in catastrophic fires and floods that beat up economies. The public expect more cooperation and a much greater speed of actions. Just do it.

In the feel-good movie Mamma Mia, set in the Mediterranean warmth of Greece, there is s particular line that I like. It is when the young lady learns to sing, “I believe in angels, something good in everything I see.” Great philosophy.

Want to warm up this winter? Just watch either of the Mamma Mia movies. Feel free to sing along.

Most of us have already had help from the above ‘angels’ and should look for opportunities to recognize them even if only in a small way. Christmas cards are encouraging, give a fist or arm bump. Say thank you directly.

And may each of us look for something good in everything we see as our tumultuous world continues to roll along. All the best in the new year.

And watch out for super young people leaping off roofs!

Reg Volk is a retired educator who writes on mostly local issues in a monthly column. To contact the writer: regvolk@shaw.ca.