Hometown Heroes: Dad Who Does It Right

This series of stories were written by high school students from Joe Pellerito’s Advanced Teen Leadership Class at East Kentwood High School. They wrote about the heroes in their lives. Stories  were written especially for now.wktv.com. Look for their stories in the weeks to come!

Hometown HeroesA hero is somebody who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares. (-Debi Mazar)


This quote reminds me of my dad, he is all of that. He demonstrates generosity and gives to others as much as he can. He also demonstrates friendship, hard work, and love. Those are three important traits for a leader to have.


My dad, Benjamin Escalante, is a detective sergeant for the state police.  That’s where I see a lot of his hard work come from. He gives his all in everything he does for his job.  He even brings work home.


I asked him if he considers himself successful and he said, “Yes, because I enjoy what I do for a living, and that’s success because you spend most of your life doing that. If you can find enjoyment in what you do for a living then thats success.” Then I asked him how he finds himself successful other than his job, “Being happy with my personal life and family.  That’s a success as well.” Society is led to believe that being successful means having a lot of money.  I don’t find that to be true. Success simply means being happy with what you do and who you are.


I am very thankful to be able to have a friendship with my dad. He is always there for me no matter what. I can talk to him pretty much about anything, he always listens. Love is something my dad shows everyday, not just with me, but with other family members, friends, and with what he does.

Hometown Heroes


While interviewing my dad, I found something very interesting: he doesn’t consider himself a hero. When I asked him why he thinks he is the person he is today, he told me, “I always try to do what is right and I never went away from that.” We definitely need more people like that in this world.


Everyone starts somewhere, I was interested in hearing about that. “Who influenced you the most in life?” I asked him. He replied, “Not one person in particular. From my family members, teacher, siblings, parents, coworkers, classmates and friends. They all influenced me in some way, not just one person.”


I also asked him if there was a specific event that made him the person he is today.  He told me, “No, many things happened to make me the person I am today. I always concern myself with things I can control and don’t concern with things I can’t control.” He then mentioned that if he knew something was out of his hands, he couldn’t do anything about it. This is a very important point.  No one can handle everything that is thrown at them.


Even the strongest people have to say no sometimes or take things slow. Now let’s not get it twisted, no one is perfect and everyone has something they can do better at in life. I asked my dad how he thinks he can grow as a person and he said, “Become a better listener, more open minded, and more accepting of others.” I love that someone I call a hero still has things they think they can grow at, because it shows a lot. Before this experience, I did not know my dad thought that way, and he did not know he is my hero. We both learned something new.

Joe Pellerito's Advanced Teen Leadership class on Spirit Day at East Kentwood
Joe Pellerito’s Advanced Teen Leadership class on Spirit Day at East Kentwood