These people have had such a significant impact on my life that I consider them to be personal heroes. Along with each is an anecdote or essay telling how they affect my life.
Frank Stonehouse has been a friend of my family for as long as I remember. I originally knew of him simply as the guy who brought donuts and would take me and my sister for ice cream. Shortly I would learn that Frank, or Tank as he is sometimes known, was also a fisherman, philanthropist, handyman, craftsman, and much more.
For some of my first Fourth of July celebrations, my family would go to a lake where Frank had a trailor and dock. We would fish for a significant part of the day, go for hayrides, and, kind of odd that I remember it, ride around on a motorcycle. Some of the most interesting times were when I or my sister would catch a fish that was only a foot long at most. To this day, even though he has a picture, he will brag a tall tale of us having caught a fish that was our armspan.
The great lesson from Mr. Stonehouse is to have a huge and giving heart. Frank is the happiest man I know despite occasional, age-related health problems lately. Frank’s only goal is to make others happy and in doing so, that makes him happy. He is my hero, not for the gifts he has given me, but for his lesson of giving. I hope that other people have somebody as giving as Frank Stonehouse in their life and learn to give in the same way. That would be a way that people will be significantly more happy.
Mark Cesnik was an assistant scoutmaster in Troop 545 for several years. Under his mentorship, I attained the rank of Eagle, the highest rank in scouting. I also attained Firecrafter, the highest rank in an Indiana scouting organization, and I joined Order of the Arrow while he was involved with the troop.
More importantly than the ranks I achieved under his direction and mentorship are the lessons of character are received from him. Mr. C., as he was affectionately known was a passionate scouter despite having never been a scout himself. He put into every aspect of scouting some mysterious, indescribable quality that made it special to every scout. For me, he exposed me to what we call Doc Log. Doc Log is the concept that I can use the woods and nature through camping, hiking, and fishing as a counselor. This is one of the greatest lessons I learned from him. A further lesson is what cheerfulness is. In obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout, I could recite a textbook definition of cheerfulness, but until I had gotten to know Mr. Cesnik, I could not truthfully say wholehartedly that I knew what cheerfulness was.
Even more amazing is that the effect Mr. C. had on me was infectious. After Mr. C. left the troop since his own son had attained the Eagle rank and family issues were mounting, he would return occasionally. One of those times was shortly after the troop had a new scoutmaster. When Mr. C. entered the meetingplace, the whole troop began to clap, and the scoutmaster said something about feeling jealous since Mr. C. would get that kind of reception every time he would enter.
I don’t know exactly where Mr. C. is today or what he is doing, but I will never forget him. I hope that he continues to inspire others and that through the lessons he taught me, I can also inspire others.