The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word hero as someone who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.

Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting and personally getting to know several individuals that in my opinion qualify as a hero, according to Merriam-Webster, and in my eyes, as well.

While many of my heroes don’t have superpowers that allow them to stop a runaway bus with one hand, they all have certain attributes and accomplishments that are out of this world.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas and the new year, I’m going to write a series of blogs honoring and showing respect for those individuals who I believe others should have the opportunity of knowing, as well.

One of my greatest heroes is no longer with me, but the lessons he taught me and the stories he told me will stay with me for a lifetime.

I know I’ve talked about my Grandpa Bechman before and how proud I was to grow up as the granddaughter of a Pearl Harbor survivor and a World War II veteran, but he was so much more.

He was my friend, my mentor, my confidant and one of my biggest supporters whether I was playing sports or showing livestock.

Even at the age of 90, he still was traveling to the Indiana State Fairgrounds to watch his grandkids compete in the Southdown sheep show.

Although to some, my grandpa may have appeared a bit rough around the edges, he would do anything for his family.

My favorite thing to do was listen to him tell stories of his time stationed in Hawaii, as well as when he came back and married my grandma and ran the family farm with her.

I still miss him every day, but I know that my hero will always be with me and watching over me.