This week's front page story about Rachel Brister drove home to me once again that heroes are all around us even though we may not see them or personally know them.

A 14-year-old girl with an incredibly difficult and painful double disorder is contemplating surgery with the calm resolve of someone much older. She has endured an ordeal that is unbelievable and inconceivable to many of us. But she doesn't give up. I didn't even hear her complain when I interviewed her. She keeps hope in her heart and in doing that, she gives hope to others, too.

I pray that the generous folks in this community, who came together to raise more than $70,000 for Project Graduation, will pull together for Rachel and her family and help her get the surgery she wants and needs. It's a risk, but one she is willing to take to have a more normal life without fear and pain. We all deserve that, but young people especially do.

Let's help Rachel get her dreams. So please attend the benefit for Rachel from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Somervell County Citizens Center. The event includes dinner and an auction.

I've been in this community long enough that people I've interviewed sometimes turn up in obituaries and I feel a sense of loss. I met another hero last year. Dorothy Coe Crane had lost her home in a fire. But when I interviewed her at her daughter's house, she did not wallow in self-pity or wring her hands about her situation. She did not blame or complain. Her daughter and her family enfolded her with love and Dorothy continued on with life.

I was shocked and sorry to see her name pop up in my e-mail box last week. The sender was a funeral home. Dorothy had passed away. She was a strong woman and another role model. Many were lucky enough to know her, so many that her funeral was held at the Expo Center hall.

A lot has been said about the first responders in this community and a lot more needs to be said about them and about our veterans. Several weeks ago I wrote a front-page story about Veteran Falls that's taking shape in Granbury. Seeing a memorial stone with Glen Rose's fallen soldier, Rhett Butler, on it brought tears to my eyes even though I never knew him.

I'm glad that the Glen Rose Downtown Association is trying to get as many veterans as possible involved in this year's Fourth of July parade. There's even a trophy for the float with the most veterans.

First responders also will be stars in the parade. We take these folks for granted until tragedy strikes. Then we realize how much we need the firefighters, sheriff deputies, police, EMS and the city and county workers who all pitched in to help during the March wildfires. The threat of fire will hang over us all summer unless we get rain and a lot of it.

Last week sheriff officers busted part of a burglary ring that has been operating throughout several counties. The streets are safer now. Again, we may not personally know any of the officers who often zoom by us in their squad cars, lights flashing, as they respond to an emergency.

So let's give thanks and honor to our unsung heroes of every age. They're all around us, “ordinary” people who do extraordinary things. They are the ones I love to write about. They are the most valuable resource of any community and they make all of us stronger.