- a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
- an illustrious warrior
- a person admired for achievements and noble qualities
- one who shows great courage.”
– Merriam-Webster Dictionary
What makes a hero?
The dictionary definition speaks of mythological figures and illustrious warriors. But real heroes are not the stuff of movies or folklore.
Real-life heroes are our friends, family, and neighbors. They’re people we see every day at work, school, and the grocery store.
They might be our friends – or perfect strangers.
They go out of their way with courage, kindness, and compassion to help others without expectation of anything in return.
Our local heroes don’t wear a cape and save the world in one fell swoop. But they do change the world one piece at a time – by making a positive impact on our community and the people that live here.
Our local heroes are the ordinary people that do extraordinary things that make life in our community better.
And it’s time to give them the recognition they deserve!
Nominate your hero!
Coluzzi Real Estate is once again partnering with the Iowa Wild to honor our local heroes.
We all know someone who goes out of their way to improve the lives of others in some way.
From the Iowa Wild: You and your nominee will receive two (2) free tickets to Iowa Wild’s Local Heroes Night on Friday, February 14. Select heroes will be recognized throughout the game.
Our local heroes: The firefighters and paramedics from Station 9
To become a firefighter or paramedic requires unwavering courage, compassion, and commitment to service. That’s the stuff heroes are made of.
Firefighters and paramedics are real-life heroes.
They are the ordinary people that do extraordinary things every single day – right here in Des Moines.
We would like to recognize our neighbors over at Fire and Rescue Station 9 for the heroes that they are.
We recently had the opportunity to ask Fire Engineer and Paramedic, Joel Sowieja, a few questions. He’s been a paramedic for 11 years and a fire engineer for 1½ years.
Mr. Sowieja’s career started as a volunteer in Minnesota. He took the standard path of college and career after high school. But he didn’t get the same satisfaction out of his job as he experienced when he volunteered for fire and rescue.
Mr. Sowieja took an opportunity to serve his country by being a civilian contractor protecting a military base in Iraq.
Changing careers to be a full-time paramedic and firefighter wasn’t an easy choice, though. Mr. Sowieja loved volunteering and was excited to pursue this path full-time. But in the back of his mind, he was fearful that his enthusiasm for the job could wane by making it a career.
Thankfully these fears never materialized, and Mr. Sowieja is very happy with his choice. So much so that he can’t imagine ever working another job in his life.
Mr. Sowieja recounted the excitement of responding to his first fire. He said as the updates came in from dispatch, and he heard it was an actual fire, he experienced a rush like no other. Because at this point, he says, “you’re doing what you trained for.”
Mr. Sowieja loves his job. But he said there are a lot of sacrifices that come along with it. Working shifts of 24 hours on, 48 hours off, can make it challenging to be home with your family at important times, like birthdays, holidays, or when kids are sick.
When asked how being a firefighter has changed his life, Mr. Sowieja says it’s made him a better person. He says, “Firefighters are looked upon positively by everyone, and it drives you to be a better person on or off duty. You hold yourself a little higher at all times, personally and professionally.”
Signing up to face hazardous, often life-threatening situations as daily work is a real act of bravery.
Our local firefighters and paramedics put their lives on the line every single day to save the lives of people in our community. We want to take this opportunity to thank them for all they are and all they do for our neighborhood and our community.