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May 03, 2005
Real Man

In my life, I have been privileged to know or to meet a number of men I would without reservation call Real Men. Only one was famous, but all had qualities that made them admirable. They all set examples that other men could profit from. More to the point, they were men I respected and admired.

First, of course, was my dad. I have known people who had exceptionally bad fathers, and it makes me all the more grateful that my own father was a good man. More than good — he was the kind of man that other men often want to be like. I never really realized how well-liked he was until he died and I heard from so many of the people who had known and respected him.

I have written briefly about two other men, LTC Whitham and COL Shine, here (contrasting them with a certain politician.) I admired both men greatly, and I hope I learned a thing or two from them. I even met Joe Foss once. He was a "man's man" in every way, and wasn't too self-important to take a few minutes to speak with a young fellow such as I was.

There have been other men I've known who were and are real men, men who, though not famous, leave their marks on the people they meet. One such man was Steve "Airboss" Herod.

Over the course of the last couple of years, I had heard of Steve in a "friend of a friend" sort of way, but had never met or spoken with him. Last November, however, I had the good fortune to meet him and his dear wife Elaine at a social event one evening. At the gathering, it was obvious to me that everyone present admired and respected him, and though I was in large part an outsider at the event and there almost by accident, he made the effort to engage me and make me feel part of the group. That was exactly the kind of thing my dad had always done.

Saturday, I learned that Steve "Airboss" Herod had been felled by a sudden heart attack.

I knew him only briefly, but he was instantly identifiable as a man among men, larger than life, a man who'd seen and done it all; he was one of those men that other men want to be like. I wish I'd gotten to know him better.

Others who did know him better have written more and better than I can do:

Posted by Russ at 12:25 PM, May 3, 2005 in Personal Stuff

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