By Anthony Rhoads

I recently got a message from a parent saying that we need to do more stories on the local heroes who are play high school sports.

If someone feels like we should do more high school sports, that's fine, but to refer to these kids as heroes just for what they do on the field as heroes is just plain wrong.

Calling a kid a hero because he can make a jump shot, throw a football or hit a baseball cheapens the meaning of the word hero.

Does that mean athletes can't be admired? I am not saying that.

I definitely admire the hard work, dedication and talent it takes to play sports but I don't consider athletes to be heroes just because of what they do on the field of play.

Who do I consider to be heroes?

First off, there was Tom Bennett, of Morgantown, W.Va. Most folks don't know who he was but he fits the definition of what a hero truly is.

He was a conscientious objector and refused to carry a gun, but when he was drafted in 1968, he served as a medic with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam.

"While working for any change, I will continue to serve my country," he wrote in a letter from Vietnam. "There is plenty of hope for changes and for America. I'll stick with her."

On Feb. 11, 1969 during the battle of Chu Pa Mountain, he was killed trying to help a seriously wounded soldier. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Another hero was Ted Belcher, of Accoville, W.Va., who was killed Nov. 19, 1966 when he fell on a grenade to to save the lives of his troops.

Robert Hartsock was killed Feb. 23, 1969 when he fell on a satchel charge to save the lives of other soldiers.

Carmel B. Harvey was killed June 21, 1967 when enemy fire exploded a grenade attached to his belt while charging an enemy position.

Gary W. Martini saved the life of a wounded solidier April 21, 1967 after being fatally wounded himself.

Phill McDonald was killed while providing cover fird near Kontum City on June 7, 1968.

Frankie Zoly Molnar was killed May 20, 1967 when he fell on a grenade to save the lives of other soldiers.

Charles C. Rogers was seriously wounded but continued to lead an artillery attack near the Cambodia border on Nov. 1, 1968.

Jimmy G. Stewart was killed while singlehandedly defending a position on May 18, 1966.

All of these guys were awarded the Medal of Honor and all of them deserve to be called heroes.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com .