People Out Loud: Heroes and superstars

June 2015 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

DixonBy Dixon Bledsoe

Two of the most overused words in the English language are superstar and hero.

People who make idiots of themselves in today’s plethora of bad television are labeled superstars.

People who work hard, provide for their families as best they can, and keep between the lines are heroes.

I have little respect for the former and loads of respect for the latter.

But Molly and Alex Newman come really close to personifying the terms Hero and Superstar.

Alex is a sergeant who just finished his second tour of duty in the Middle East with the U.S. Army. He arrived home last month from Afghanistan. He was greeted by a wife who adores him and a little five-year old who missed her daddy terribly because she remembered him. Another daughter is three, so she didn’t remember him readily from her “terrible two’s.” The youngest of three daughters is just one, and she was two weeks old when he deployed. Needless to say, but he is a fresh face to little Teagan, a novelty to Kylee, and a God-Send for Savannah.

When we speak of the brave men and women who serve our country during a time in the world that borders on the cusp of both frightening and depressing, it is customary to say “Thank you for your service” to the military member and a token appreciative comment to the member’s spouse and family for “holding down the fort.”

But in this case, both of these young people are rock stars. In Alex’s case, two tours in the danger zone with a risky job ended with his safe return to his loving family and a good job with the Department of Corrections, intact, proud of his service, and glad to be back home in Silverton.

There was a lot of time in getting reacquainted with his children and reconnected with Molly. A yearlong separation can take its toll.  Re-orienting to civilian life again, three small children instead of a gang of troops in less-than-optimal living conditions, and a wife who is both proud of her husband and ecstatic that the “cavalry” has arrived, is no easy task, It is one that just takes time.

Molly is, as my favorite and only mother-in-law the late Carol McDonald use to say, a veritable “whirling dervish.” She is a nursing student at George Fox, works for the Family Birthing Center at Silverton Health, carries a near 4.0 grade point average, and as a friend describes her, “Molly is ridiculously smart.”

She also has been a great single parent while her husband was serving his country to three adorable, challenging and active daughters. Her mother, Jennifer Grady, helps out tremendously with the kids and loves them unconditionally, and her father, Dr. Mike Grady, is an active, loving grandfather who is obviously really good at fixing boo boos.

Molly, with the family’s help,  made sure that every birthday was special, every available children’s book was read, and many bedtimes were preceded by a Skype with daddy thousands of miles away and often in harm’s way.

Molly and Alex are the kind of heroes who people should be watching on television. They are great role models, give back to their community, know the importance of hard work and cherish and treasure their friends and family. They are real heroes and superstars, at least to those people lucky enough to know them. Thank you from the bottom of three little hearts for a job well done.

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