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Copyright © 2014 Kelsey Stanger All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or in any means – by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without prior written permission. Copyright © 2014 by Kelsey Stanger All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retreival systems, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Heroes Photographs and Design Layout by Kelsey Stanger

he路ro noun

a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

Google Search. Google. 27 April 2014. Web.

Forward There was a time when the word hero was often associated with a man in a cape. When I started this series I expected to photograph a very specific set of people. Firefighters, police officers, people in the military, doctors and nurses, etc., all people that immediately come to mind when I think of the word. I then started to think more about the term and a whole new set of people came to mind. Road service members who go out in the middle of snow storms when your car is stranded. Musicians whose words play over in your head that make you realize you can get through anything. Pet rescuers that dedicate their lives to saving defenseless animals. That person whose smile makes you believe in the true goodness of the world. How far out would I extend the word? But then I realized, who am I to decide who a hero is? Who is anyone? Being a hero isn’t about your occupation, it’s about who you are as a person. Everyone has the ability to be a hero. The power is there. It’s up to you to decide how you live and whether you let it out. -Kelsey Stanger



“Educators are heroes. I mean the educators who show their passion for teaching and selflessly devote themselves to their students. These are the people who understand that what they do and how they shape young minds directly impacts our future. To be able to do that - to help students to create their own futures - makes educators TRUE heroes.” - Taylor Plunkett Clements

Kevin Braunstein Grade School Teacher

“I know the word hero gets thrown around very often talking about sports and things like that, and I myself am a big fan of sports, but I think the term gets thrown around too frequently. When you talk about a hero, when I think hero, I think of people who put their lives on the line every day for others. Police officers, fire, and certainly military come to mind for me when I think of heroes.”

“I think they (teachers) can be (heroes). I guess it all depends on who’s defining the word. I look at a few teachers I’ve had and would certainly say they’ve shaped me to become a teacher and a lot of the things that I do. The ways that I teach are because of those people. If people look at me as a hero, and I certainly do not, but if other people do, I have to look at them and say well if I was, they certainly were.”

“I went to Temple and was taking up a lot of time and space not really sure what I wanted to do. I went to Florida to see my uncle… and my one cousin Lisa was an English teacher. I was in the JPRA, Journalism Public Relations and Advertising. I was just starting that major. I wanted to be a writer and then I talked with her for a couple of days. We went to a basketball game where my uncle refereed and a lot of her students were there. She taught high school English and they were just completely knocking people over to talk to her... Just looking at the way they revered her even out of school and respected her, I just thought that was amazing. So I think that was a turning point for me because I just thought that was pretty cool. So I went back to Philadelphia, I went back to school and I dropped out of JPRA, I declared that I wanted to be a teacher in high school, and here I am in 7th grade. A little different but I just look at her and think, for me, she changed my life. I think that did it for me.”

“If I was not a teacher what would I want to be? It’s easy to say something like police officer or firefighter, president, astronaut, all of those things, but I would love to be a pediatrician now that I have a three year old son. I think that’s something that would be a pretty remarkable profession.”

“My greatest heroes have to be my grandparents. Never have I met two people that have gone through so much and came through it with hearts filled with love. Growing up in Nazi Germany, they saw more than any child should, worked harder than any child should, and witnessed more horror than any human, let alone child, ever should. They are two people who came to America with nothing but their dreams. They inspire me with their wisdom, build me up, and bring me right back down to earth. They are a constant reminder to do what’s right, not necessarily what’s easy, and that even if we have nothing else, as they did when they moved here, we always have their unconditional love.” -Rachel Assal

My (5 year old) daughter because she’s innocent and everyone else in the world is fucked up. -Tracey Brooke Doer

“A single parent. They work hard to provide for their child as opposed to two people.” -Alexa Martin

Lisa Rosetti Single Parent

“I would consider police, firemen, and military people heroes. They put their lives on the line. They’re there to protect other people. Firemen go into fires when everyone else is running out. Police men don’t stop for bullets, they jump in there. The military people are there to give us our freedoms that we have in the United States.”

“I really wouldn’t consider them (single parents) heroes.”

“I was a single parent. It’s hard, it’s definitely harder, but I believe someone is a hero for putting their life on the line. I mean I would put my life on the line for my kid, but you know, that’s just how I see a hero more.”

“One of the main things was not having enough time for her. I work all day and I used to have a part-time job at night so a lot of things I wasn’t able to do and give her 100 percent like other parents can. But I did what I had to do, I had good family, good mom that helped me. I think we all did pretty good.�

“My hero continues to be my mom. As I grow older, I come to understand more and more about life. I wasn’t able to truly see the commitment, the sacrifice, the strength, and the courage it really takes to be a mother and half the time a father as well. What continues to leave me in awe is the amount of love in her heart, it runneth over, believe me. Family is first with her and she has never left any of us out to dry, despite the situation or circumstance. Ultimately she has never stopped loving me after I came out to her. Yes it took some getting used to and yes it wasn’t exactly what she would have wished for me but she never made me feel unwanted. Now more than ever before my hero and I are the closest we’ve ever been and I strive to be as strong and loving as her.” -Marcus Branch

“One of my heroes is my college ballet teacher. He’s the reason that I even learned technique. My other teachers were nice and helped me in my dance journey but he truly believed in me and put effort into my development as a human and a dancer. If it wasn’t for him I would have probably given up on learning other styles other than hip hop.” -Jazmin Olivia

“Musicians. Their music allows for other people to escape from a harsh reality. It can help them through their problems. It can make them feel like they’re not alone.” - Matt Clark

Johnny Costa Musician

“A hero would be anyone who sacrifices either their health or wellbeing or time to the betterment of society as a whole... By putting the needs of others before your own that’s like exemplary behavior and people can be like “Oh that’s how everyone should be.” I guess a hero would be someone you strive to be like morally.”

“I think any type of artist, anyone who creates anything in any form of expression, can be a hero to someone. They kind of bring to light feelings that everyone feels and by other people seeing that, they might feel as though they’re not as alone.”

“People hear music and someone singing about something they’ve been through and that helps them through something difficult… It’s anything powerful that expresses something about the human condition that people can relate to.”

“What made me want to become a musician? The chicks. Obviously.” “I think it was always something I had an aptitude for I guess because I knew I was somewhat decent at singing, and playing guitar kind of just happened. A lot of my heroes were musicians because they just seemed to have so much power and could express whatever they wanted. I was probably like 13 when I started getting into music and when I decided I wanted to be a musician. At that age I was really into bands like My Chemical Romance who were really spreading a message to people at the time that was just like it’s ok to be weird and be yourself and that really resonated with me. I was like yea I want to do that, I want to make people feel like they’re not alone and feel part of a community because music was what really made me feel like I belonged somewhere. I wanted to bring that to other people.”

“If I wasn’t a musician, I don’t know, I’d probably just be a janitor or something, but I’d strive to be the world’s best janitor.

I’ve thought about going back to school for philosophy because that’s something that really interests me a lot so I’d probably just be a homeless guy with a philosophy degree realistically.”

“I consider my mother my hero because of her strength. Throughout my life she’s had the ability to be a strong person for not only herself but for her family that she’s put first no matter what.” -Sheeron Randall

“When I was a kid I looked at heroes in real life as role models, people I looked up to. Now I consider them to be my mentors. The individuals who inspired me to push myself, who made me realize the potential that I have and made me understand why I love doing the things I love to do. The people who inspire me to achieve great things.� -David Castro

“Myself ”

Erin O’Neil

“I inspire myself.”

“Myself ”

Tricia Cancelliere

“Because I rock.”

“Myself ”

Tiffany Holmes “Is it egotistical to say my hero is myself? Before I get the eye rolls and teeth sucks, let me explain. No, I have not gone through more struggles than any other person in the world. I’m a normal person with normal issues and lucky enough to have friends and family to support me. But no one pushes me forward but me. Because I’m stubborn. Once I decide to do something, I do it. I have many mentors and trainers, friends, inspirations, and support. But ultimately, I’m the one that makes the decision to fight through the delusions, doubts, misinformation, and negativity running around inside my head every single day. If I decide to stay down and out, I do. If I decide to get off my... behind and make a change, I do. Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my years of life after HS. I completely gave up on dance: the one thing other than writing that has ever given me freedom. And for 6 years I was miserable without knowing why. I have fought through chronic depression, weight issues, image issues, self doubt, jeers and sneers from the outside world, and being put down for who I am. All this sad nonsense to express that I’M. STILL. HERE. I cannot... repeat CANNOT let go of my freedom because of what someone else thinks. How I feel about it is what matters. And when I dance... I feel like I am finally who I’m supposed to be. And I hope by sticking to what I want regardless of what anyone else says, I’m inspiring someone else to do the same. You can only achieve a dream when you believe in it. And now that I finally do, I’m living a life better than I could’ve dreamed.”

“Anyone who speaks for a subjugated minority.”

-Randi Fair

“I consider a hero as someone who has the gall to follow their wildest dreams. People who imagine something and invent it or want to see what life is like in a different country and move. I am both humbled and inspired by people who let nothing but their own hearts guide their paths in life, and who let nothing stand in their way. Gays who live exactly the way they want to live regardless of criticism, men and women in interracial relationships who teach their children that flesh and blood is flesh and blood, artists who live for truth and beauty instead of money and fame, those are heroes. It doesn’t really matter what a person’s dream is, it matters that they have the courage to chase it.” -Brittany Stanger

“Firefighters. They save people. They put their lives in danger for strangers.� -Colin Hughes

“My brother because of his courage and his heart to fight for his country. Because he’s a brave mother fucker.” - Steven Seiberlich


They protect our country and put their lives on the line.� -Sandra Hughes

“Someone who always puts someone else before themselves, whether it be a parent, firefighter, soldier, etc.� -Molly King

“Our troops.” -Melissa Gladney

“Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or they didn’t wear boots and capes. superpowers were as simple as listening, who knew that even if their own lives untangle someone else’s. someone to rescue

stop bullets with an outstretched hand; They bled, and they bruised, and their or loving. Heroes were ordinary people were impossibly knotted, they could And maybe that one act could lead you right back.�

-Jodi Picoult, Author


Photographs and Design Layout By Kelsey Stanger