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"My American Hero"

by Kristina Peach

(*Editors note: Kristina is 13 years of age and the oldest granddaughter of Kenneth and Linda Hackett)

"Always do what God wants you to do!" That is my grandfather's favorite saying. A man of courage and love, always trying to do the right thing.

My American hero is my grandfather, with a laughter full of love, eyes full of sparkle, a heart filled with tender care, and a soul filled with the love of God.

His loving laughter has always encouraged me, flowing over me like a comforting ray in warm sunshine, on a cold winter day.

His sparkling eyes are always filled with surprises and new ideas, like inventions to make the world a better place.

His tender-caring heart is always thinking of other people. Always sensitive to the feelings or problems of other people. Doing and caring for total strangers.

His God-filled soul over flows with love for others, wanting everyone to have the same God who has touched and molded his life. Inspired by God, and the desire to reach others, he was a missionary in Russian for over two years. He touched the lives of victims of merciless communism, risking both his life and the life of my grandmother.

The father of three daughters, he paved the way for three successful lives, teaching them right from wrong, love from hate, and all about life.

The grandfather of six, he has taught about love's story over and over, tenderly patting each grandchild on the back to give them encouragement.

My grandfather has influenced my life from the very beginning, and always will as long as I live.

My grandfather is my American Hero because I want to be just like him. I want to have the love and care for others like he has. I want to follow God like he does, and I want to influence lives like he does. And hopefully someday, somehow, I can be just like my "American Hero."