Rebecca Sadler's Essay


  With this entry of my journal, I am very pleased to include an essay written by my great-niece, Rebecca Sadler, a student of Woodland Middle School in Brentwood, who was recently chosen as the winner of a sixth grade essay contest sponsored by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. The press release announcing the winner reads as follows:

June 2nd, 2004 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist ģ-TN) today announced that Rebecca Sadler of Brentwood, TN, has been selected as the winner of this yearís sixth grade essay contest. The theme of the contest was "Salute to Community Heroes." Sadler, who attends Woodland Middle School, wrote about her father, Jerry M. Sadler, who died of cancer on November 11, 1999.


"Rebecca Sadlerís winning essay is just one example of the many heartfelt stories we received, and Iím grateful to have had the opportunity to hear her fatherís story, said Frist. "This contest shows the true magnitude of everyday heroes living in communities across Tennessee. My congratulations go out to our contest winners, and every Tennessee student who took the time to enter the contest."

This yearís essay question asked students to examine what it means to be a hero. In the essay, students were asked to describe someone they believe to be a hero in their community, explain what makes that person a hero, figure out what qualities they possess, and determine how he or she is an inspiration.

To be eligible, contestants had to have been in the 6th grade and attend a Tennessee school and each essay was required to be between 500 and 800 words, typed or printed in double space format. More than 2,500 students from across the state submitted essays for the contest.

The winning essay will be read by Senator Frist into the Congressional Record and a framed copy given to both the winner and the school.

Rebeccaís essay is entitled "My Hero". This is what she has say:

Heros can be just about anyone. Some have earned Nobel prizes. Some have lead marches and protests. Some are world leaders and some have been to the moon. Many have recorded hit singles in the music industry. Others have made millions off a simple story. But what really makes a hero? Are heroes born or made? Do heroes look like movie stars or do they look like the guy who waxes the floors at the end of the day? Are they brave enough to take down an evil terrorist? Or are they just brave enough for a roller coaster?

My hero hasnít been to the moon. And he hasnít lead a protest. He didnít win a Nobel prize and he wasnít a world leader. My hero was a friend, a husband, a brother, a cousin, a father, a pilot, and one of the bravest people Iíve known. My hero is my dad. He was a commander in the Navy Reserve. He flew packages for FedEx. He had a wife, three kids, four brothers, three sisters, a mother-in-law, a sister-in-law, numerous cousins, and innumerable friends.

The thing that made my dad a hero was that he was never afraid and if he was, he never showed it. He was incredibly honest. My dad was a friend to everyone. My dad would have given his life for his family and his country. There was nothing that my dad couldnít do. He was so strong. Every morning I would walk into his room and say good morning. He would gather up all his strength and as soon as I walked in, he would sit up, smile, and act like nothing was wrong.

Heroes donít have to be superstars. And they donít have to beat any world records. They can be a parent, a teacher, a counselor, even the garbage man can be a hero. But heroes have to be a couple of things. They should be loving, honest, brave, loyal, and kind. They should be kind to people who might not be as fortunate. They should be loving to family, and brave no matter what. They should be loyal to friends, family, God, and their country. They must be honest to their friends so you can trust them.

My dad inspires me because he was all of the things that make a hero. He inspires me because he never gave up, even in the face of death.

My dad inspires me to do the very best I can, and be the very best I can be. He inspires my to fly someday. To say, "Yes, I can" in the face of failure. He taught me to never give up, no matter what. He taught me to succeed. He showed me how to be brave. He inspires me to be loyal to our country, God, friends, and family. He taught me to be kind to everyone, even complete strangers, and loving to family. He inspires me to be me. My dad is my hero.

My dad, Jerry M. Sadler, died of cancer on November 11, 1999. I was 7 years old and in the second grade. He left behind a wife, three children, four brothers, three sisters, and many others.

Rebeccaís mother, Teresa (Poindexter) Sadler is the daughter of the Mrs. Sue M. Poindexter and the late John T. Poindexter of Livingston. John T. Poindexter served as police chief for the Livingston Police Department for many years. Rebecca has a younger sister, Allison, and a younger brother, John Logan. Paternal grandparents are the late John Sadler and wife Mary Sadler. Mr. Sadler was a former mayor of Livingston, and Mrs. Sadler was a teacher in the Overton County school system. In spite of the fact that Rebecca lost her father at such a young age, itís obvious she still carries his memory and all the things he instilled in her in the early years of her life. She has received quite an honor as the student selected to be the winner of this essay contest, and both the McCormick and Sadler families are very proud of her. But the real winner of this contest is Rebeccaís father, Jerry. As I see it, there can be no honor any greater than having a daughter consider her father as "My Hero."