My Hero, My Soldier, My Big BrotherThursday, May 24, 2012 By Sam Shaw
When you hear the word “Hero”, what do you think of? Some may say Superman, Spider-man or Cat Woman. People think of heroes as people with super powers that save others, but I’m asking you to go a little deeper than that. Go deeper than the cliche super humans whose only weakness is Kryptonite. Who is your hero? Growing up, I was asked that question quite frequently, especially in school. My answers varied as I grew older. That was up until my brother joined the United States Army. September 11, 2001 was a horrific day for everyone in America. It was the day that terror swept over our country, but it was also the day my brother, who was 11 at the time, went up to my mom and told her that he wanted to be in the Military. In the summer of 2007, he enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17. He graduated High School, turned 18 and was shipped off to Basic Training in Fort Benning, Georgia, all within a few days of each other. He served his 11 month long tour in Iraq in July of 2009. When he came home from Iraq, my mom, two sisters and I drove to Washington State to see him step off that plane and onto American soil. So many feelings were racing through our minds. Will he be the same person? Will he look any different? As they were briefing the soldiers before they walked into the gym, we were given a live feed of all of them and it was projected on the wall. When my brother appeared on that wall, immediate tears swept over all of us. He was home. All of the soldiers from his Platoon marched in and the gym erupted with clapping, cheers and tears. He came home to Minnesota for a while, but then it was back to Washington to get ready for his next deployment. On December 2, 2011, he left for his second deployment in Afghanistan. On April 27, 2012, the day before my prom, we were informed that he had been injured and medevaced to Kandahar. When you get that call...it is unlike anything else. Given as little information as possible because of OPSEC (Operation Security) is hard to deal with. He had surgery on his left leg and it left about a 6 inch scar. They flew him to Al Udied, Qatar which is located near Afghanistan. He was there for about 2 weeks recovering from his surgery. He awaited the arrival of a plane to take him back to Afghanistan to get his things, and then back home for mid-deployment leave. Where his station is at in Afghanistan, he rarely ever gets phone of internet privileges. However, when he does, he will call us or skype us, but skype is no where near as good as getting to see my big brother in person! On May 17, 2012 my family and I went to Perkins to celebrate my little sister’s 15th birthday. As usual my older sister was running late so we got some to go boxes and started to head out. I went to the bathroom and when I came out she was there so I gave her a hug. She then asked me to call he phone, so I did but she had left it in her car...or so I thought. As soon as I hung up the phone in walks my brother! He had her phone in his hand so when I called he knew when to come in. Within seconds there were tears in everyone’s eyes. He was home again. It was one of the best surprises ever! So when I’m asked, “Who is my hero?”, you won’t hear me say Spider-man, Cat Woman or Superman. My answer is not a fictional character with fake super powers. You won’t hear any hesitation in my voice, because I am 110% confident in my answer. My hero is and forever will be Corporal Timothy Nelson! My hero, my soldier, my big brother!!!