“The Great Silent Hero” by Rocky Romano

0915152325-00August, 1955. An oil field, in a faraway place.

Was a quiet night. Only the boilers could be heard in that dangerous work area. The view from the oil field was, it was both mesmerizing and mysterious, that place was in front of the Atlantic Ocean. Precisely where the boilers were, you could see a man moving hastily, watching countless manometers, and doing various maneuvers in the engine room. This man’s job was to keep the correct rate of the working machines, also to keep the boilers at their correct temperature. That tireless working man had a name, Julian.

He was a very diligent and dedicated to his duties, he knew his job, and was a man of high morals. Julian took a short break to drink fresh water, and thought of the terrible tragedy that happened in this same place years ago. He walked the work area and imagined how those men had died. Julian recalled that many say they still could see the handprints on the walls of those who burned while trying to escape the fire caused by the catastrophic explosion. They crawled and laid on hot concrete walls and when they tried to take off their handprints marks stayed there. Julian watched and found nothing but only a few vestiges that the new renovations could not hide. Sighed and thought aloud, “Lord, can not happen again”. He return to the engine room, the heat was infernal and the deafening noise as maneuvered some of those machines whispered to himself, “It’s August, September next month I’ll my beloved Mary Anne”. smiled and continued, ” I ran my single life, will come great responsibilities”. The sweat ran down his forehead, had his throat dry and every hour meant an eternity.

Then heard the creaking boiler as frightening and alerted and high temperatures, the nightmare had begun that night he would never forget. The two main boilers were almost out of control, then he wondered what was happening in there? was it a gas leak? or maybe not enough water coming to the boiler?, then ran to the center of the engine room, the steam was intense and all had overheated, carefully examined the path of the pipes and soon realize that one of the water pipe was obstructed a did not allow the passage of water, again looked at the gauges, the temperature had reached too high a degree and all would fly into pieces. Julian thought about the rest of the people that were working in the oil plant, an explosion that would kill all of them, also thought about his girlfriend Mary Anna, no thought of the pain in his body, even he did not think about trying to escape from that situation, just thought he should reach the safety valves and open them to release the steam, he knew this would burn his hands, the valves were more than hot and he cry of pain by the effort needed to open them, the scalding steam came out with explosive force and Julian fell to the ground and covered his face, which was burning from hot splashes of steam, felt very dizzy but could not pass out, stood up and continued to open other valves, the engine room had become a hell of steam hot were he could not see even a centimeter away. At that time the gauges indicated that the pressure had fallen, giving the assurance that the oil plant and all the workers.

Julian sighed in relief, but could not breathe, his hands were blistered and before fainting just said, “Thank you, my Lord” and fell on the ground. Soon come co-workers  and medical emergencies to help him, he was taken to hospital of the Company. During the trip to the hospital one of the paramedics told Julian, “You’re a hero, you saved hundreds of lives and extensive material damage”. “No, I’m not, I was just doing my job that stand me out.”

After his recovery the Company organized a celebration in his honor at the dinner, the president of the Company gave a laudatory speech by raising the heroic act of Julian, and then in the presence of authorities and workers handed him a valuable gold medal where it appeared the figure of a man fighting against the fire and inscription, “IN HONOR OF MERIT” and the Mayor of the city handed over the “Keys to City” and was invited to speak to all those present. Then Julian was already on stage receiving these honors, went in front of the microphone, accommodating his tie and composed his throat before speaking, “Mr. President of the Company, directors, Mayor, colleagues, thank you for this beautiful gesture, you are very considerate with me, I will carry in my heart forever this image, thanks! I just wanted tell all of you , that I did not look for some kind of recognition, how to explain that it was my duty to do so even if I had to give my life for this…” tears welled up in his eyes, “I could not have lived in peace the rest of my days if I had tried to escape from that situation to save my life, it had been a selfish and cowardly act. I did the right thing nothing more that, totally simple. Life reward me with my peace of spirit.”

Many years after that heroic event in the life of Julian and his home was full of happiness. They had come to life from this marriage two children, a boy and a girl. One evening the boy came to his father’s study, with only eight years old exciting natural curiosity invaded, then started opening some cases, especially those that were beyond his reach, that they were at the bottom of that forgotten closet, opened two boxes and found some very old photos of when his father was a child, his grandparent’s letters  and other things that were not interesting to him, but he saw a third attractive wooden box, then his heart throb and also wondered what was inside and if he would have it, his arm was short to reach it, then he saw an old umbrella which he used to drag the box toward him and when his hands had unleashed a tape wrapped around the box and opened it carefully, to his surprise inside it neatly accommodated some things and take them out one by one, the first was a parchment and spread it, on the same saw the name of his father which mentioned as a hero who had avoided a catastrophe and saving human lives and he said, “I cannot believe this is referring to my father?” he continued and pulled several reading material only letters first, then also acknowledgments and awards aimed at his father. Finally saw two boxes of velvet, a blue and square a red and rectangular, he opened the first there was a fairly heavy medal, looked at every detail, there was a figure of man fighting against the fire and inscription.” In Honor of Merit”, his breathing was stirred then opened another box and saw a golden key, symbolizing the key of the city. He stopped and ran in search of his mother, “Mama, mama!!! Mary Anne was anxious to see her son in such a state of excitement, “What  is going on son? Are you okay?” “Yeah, you never said that Daddy is a very important man, is a hero! check this out!! look at this!!” “Yes son, I know your father is an important man for us even without that.”  “But, you did not tell me, why? Why these medal, diploma and photos are not hanging on the wall where everyone see how important my Father is?” “I wondered that myself many times, I think it’s time to have a talk with your Dad, it is time to have a conversation from father to son.

At night when Julian entered the sleeping child’s room, “Son, how are you? How was your day?” “Daddy, why you never told me, so I could tell my friends, that you are a hero, why didn’t you tell me?…tell me, why?” Julian, took the boy in his arms and put him on his knees, “My son! Thanks for recognizing this, I must tell you that there are duties in life that we must fulfill as a matter of brotherly  love and honor life itself, not for fame, recognition and applause, of course that’s very nice…but believe me when you do the right thing is an invisible force recognition that accompanies you for the rest of your life.” “Daddy, I do not understand what you talking about”. “My son, some day you’ll understand, it’s all learning, now go to sleep”. “Daddy, but promise me, you will hung the diploma and medals in the living room”. “Yes, I will”.

Days after on the wall of the living room you could see the diploma, medal and photo of getting Julian these honors. All the time he told to his friends, “See? that’s my Father.”

Many years passed and the child became in man and his father was always considered a hero and shared this story with his friend and coworkers , he was always proud of Julian whose incredible humility made him keep silent tremendous act of heroism, for that reason he was known as, ” The Silent Hero”. Very often when walking along the streets of the great city, and saw the crowd come and go, and thought how many anonymous heroes who risk their lives in some heroic act and remain silent, the value of humility and courage, he knew also about that invisible force one who accompanies you for the rest of our lives when we do the right thing.

The Silent heroes are around us, I have no doubt about that, the protagonist of this true story there, is my Father, This event inspired me deeply. That’s why he will be my Role Model forever.-

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8 thoughts on ““The Great Silent Hero” by Rocky Romano

  1. MichelleMarie says:

    This is beautiful…you know I know many brave men that work in the oil fields. I happen to work with people like this and I love this story! It is truly an honor and yes you are right they are the silent heroes without them our children would not have heat in their homes. This is a beautiful story! 🙂 Blessings to you my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bota28 says:

    Rocky my friend… what a beautiful, from the heart story ! Your passion and pride for your father showed through your words. The physical and psychological dangers he endured to ensure others were safe.. It reminded me of my own father, who also worked “oil rigs” in this era, and the dangers they put themselves through in order that others could be safe and went home to their families. The silent hero, how appropriate… thank you again for sharing your words with us all… hugs XO

    Liked by 1 person

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