Man-Day Post: What Makes A Man A Hero

In Man-day by Jensguy10 Comments

Another week’s installment of Man-day from Jensguy.

This is my grandfather, Ward Harold Jensen:

I never knew him, he died of cancer three years before I was born.  He was born just before the turn of this last century, lived most of his life, and died in the small town of Redmond, Utah, which I can almost guarantee that nobody reading this post will ever visit.

He farmed, because you either farmed or worked in the Redmond Salt Mines.  He married his sweetheart, a schoolteacher named Thelma Stark, and they continued to live in Redmond.  He never grew rich, never grew famous, never succeeded in any of the ways that many today might consider true success.  That tractor in the background could possibly qualify as his most extravagant material possession.

But what he did do, and what history may never note, is what makes him great.

He raised 5 children who went on to raise wonderful families of their own.  His descendants number in the hundreds.

He served his community, acted uprightly, and upheld the honor of his family name in Redmond where he counted himself the third generation of Scandinavian immigrants.

He sent two of those children, his oldest boys, to serve during World War II in the Navy.  There was no guarantee that he would ever see them again once they departed to fight the Imperial Japanese Navy.  Both returned safely.

He remained true to his wife with a love that is sealed forever.

His youngest daughter, tired of such a provincial life, ran off and got married as a teenager.  When the time came that the life she lead no longer appealed to her, he welcomed her back with open arms, tears, and joy.

That girl, my mother, kept this photograph of Ward and his sweetheart (her mother) above her bed, and used it to remind her children what was truly important in life:


Today my mother is buried within arms length of the father and mother who loved her and never gave up on her.  Her three children have their own happy families and carry Ward’s legacy forward.  (My sister even married a Ward, which is difficult to do nowadays.)

The biggest thing my Grandfather gave me was the realization that my wife and family are the most important things I have in my life.  In the end, my relationship with them, my ability to be strong in supporting them, and yielding in love, tenderness, and forgiveness when required are the things that make me great, despite what the outside world may consider to be the markers of great men.

I would like to get one of those tractors though. . .



  1. Yes, all those things made your grandfather a hero. So many men don't get it these days. It's all about them. I would have loved your grandfather.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

  2. I love reading about the lives of people from ordinary walks of life that made us the way we are today. Your grandfather sounds like a real hardworking and loving man. I love the old photos and know he must adore your words. What a great tribute to a hero who will never be forgotten by his family.

  3. Thank you. It's interesting how so much of what and who we are is made up of people we may have never even personally known like my grandfather.

  4. I only hope to aspire to have my children talk about me like his do. He was truly a hero to them.

  5. Family is so important in our lives, isn't it. I love learning about not only my own heritage, but the family history of others. Thanks for sharing this story :)

  6. Hey, it's Gingi stopping by from Domestic Geek Girl! WOW, I like this… I don't know why, but the photo / style of this post reminds me of a blog my husband follow, The Art of Manliness… thank you for sharing! Looking forward to seeing more of your posts…

    Gingi Freeman

  7. Hi Gynjii thanks for visiting! My husband is such a great writer, but he is so stinking busy. I was able to convince him to write once a week on here and I hope I can keep him doing that. Love your blog btw!

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