By Clifford Collio
My hero is the classic choice: My Dad. From my perspective, my father’s dedication to his family and the positive attitude he lived by are nothing short of admirable.
He grew up in a rural part of Ilocos Sur, in the Philippines. With little education, my father knew that he could only help his parents and siblings have a better life outside of his small town, and outside the country. So when Maui County, Hawaii recruited Filipinos to work in the pineapple fields following World War II, my father left everything behind for the sake of his family. During a year of hard labor, my father sent as much money back home as he could. After that, he left Maui to see if O’ahu held better prospects.
My father felt he had a responsibility to send money back to those he loved in the Philippines. As a result, for years he worked as many as three jobs at one time. By the time I came into the world, he was working only two jobs, one as a chef at a naval officer’s club in Waikiki.
I didn’t see much of him. Two jobs still meant six days a week. I remember my father coming home in the middle of the afternoon after I was done with school. We would chat a bit while I did my homework but soon enough he would begin prepping food for dinner. Never a complaint out of his mouth – not about work, not about having to cook more when he got home – he just did what he felt he needed to do to be a good Father.
In fact, I have no recollection of my dad saying anything ill of anyone. He was able to find the positive in every situation and in every person he came into contact with. People respected that.
It’s been about 7 years since my father passed away. I’ve missed him every day since, and every day I do my best to live by the same codes and values he stood for in life. Perhaps someday I’ll be the same kind of hero to someone else that he is to me.