What's a hero anyway? ...Or maybe someone who overcomes their own fear, inertia and dread to achieve something special and unqiue.
I have a friend who spent the first half of her life fighting for survival as a child and teenager in an abusive adoptive family and later homeless on the streets. She did whatever she had to to survive, and it made her hard as nails.
She made a decision at some point that she needed more out of life, and from herslef, so she worked her way through a trade school so she could make a decent living for herself and get off the streets.
She then took it a major step forward - she's spent the past 5 years consciously shedding the rage, pain, and fear that fueled her survival, and learned how to invite joy into her life. I've seen her evolve from a tough, scared, glacially pretty gutterpunk into into a deeply affectionate, warm, beautiful, wise woman. She is a counselor in many ways, and has effected incredibly positive change in the lives of the people who are blessed enough to be near her.
Her courage to face herself and her responsibility, and her ability, willingness and grace in accepting accepting both, are truly heroic to me.
I guess that for me, a hero is someone who inspires you, by example, to be a better influence on the world.