11-year-olds tell of who they admireCats, house fires and relatives - Astoria Middle School sixth-grade students shared stories of "Heroes in our Hometown" for a Columbia River Maritime Museum Essay contest. The students competed for a ride on a U.S. Coast Guard motor lifeboat Nov. 2.

These are the finalists.

Of all the moms

in the mom store...

By Taylor Crawford, 11

How my mom (Allison Crawford) is my hero: For one thing, she is always there for me. One heroic thing my mother does is on Tuesdays she goes to the food bank and delivers food to people that don't have a lot of food.

Another is when she was old enough, she adopted her brothers and sister. Then she adopted Erin, my older sister. Now, she adopted Ashley and Corey Foster.

My mom works at the radio station. She talks on a lot of stations like Q94.3 FM, 1230 AM oldies, 1370 AM news and 92.9 FM.

My mom also saves the lives of cats. The first cat she saved was Maggie, our first cat ever. Then she saved Jerry, the cat we saw by the side of the road. We took him to Dr. Goza our vet. Then Missie, she found her in a very small box just big enough to fit a kitten in it. Then Paws, he used to go out in the highway and go to sleep. And now Molly, she had her whiskers singed off. So she gave her to me.

My mom shows heroism in every way. Well, at least to me. If there was a mom store and you had to chose only one mom, she would be my choice. I love my mom so much, especially for her courage. She makes me feel safe, warm, loved and different from anyone else.

She is like a blanket big enough to keep everyone warm.

People usually think of moms as just plain moms, but I think my mom is one of the greatest heroes of all time. So many signs of heroism, I can't get it all into this computer. It might explode with all the information I will put in it. My mom is one of the greatest moms ever. Well, that's my opinion for now.

The end.

Everyone's a hero

By Lexie Banks, 11

Lexie Banks

There are many definitions of a hero. My definition is a person that is nice to others, helps them when they need help and will support everyone that needs someone to stand by their side.

One example of this kind of person is my friend, Gabi Warren. She is there for anyone. If she sees someone fall or trip or get hurt, she'll be there to help them or give them a hand. If someone needs a person to stand by their side, she'll be there. If she sees someone in a fight, she'll be by their side, especially if it is one of her friends. She is the perfect person to look up to not only as a role model but also a hero.

Another hero would be my grandpa, Richard Goolsby. He worked in the U.S. Coast Guard for a number of years. But he had to quit because he got lung cancer. He died a few years ago because of cancer. He was a very nice person, and he always stood up for people even if it was someone he didn't know very well. If someone had a problem, they could always go to him for support. And he always had something nice to say about everyone, especially his family.

I have told you about two of my heroes. And deep down, our friends and our family, they are all heroes, and we are, too.

A blessing from a hero

By Tawny Phillips, 11

Tawny Phillips

My hero is a great person. I loved him a lot. He was a unique, yet simple person. I put in a lot of thought for his grandchildren. And he went to church as a Catholic. He was very generous, enthusiastic and jolly. My hero is my grandfather.

He lived a life of 75 years and then passed away. My grandfather, Francisco Valdefiera, worked for the U.S. Coast Guard for 22 years. Then he worked at the Astoria City Hall as an accountant for a few months. He also cooked at the Tongue Point Job Corps as a chef for students for four years. Then he worked at the Post Office as a mail deliverer for a few months also. He retired as a Coast Guard sailor in 1976.

He was very kind to me and everyone else. He gave me almost everything I wanted. He also loved to watch me play or read or something like that. And also, he made sure I wasn't feeling sick or cold and that I was OK. He also gave me $5 every day I was with him to buy whatever I wanted. He loved to watch TV like old movies and listen to old story music.

Francisco Valdefiera

He went to church in the morning. And when he got back, he would bless me and my sister by making an invisible cross on our foreheads with his thumb. And if he went to the store to buy groceries, he would always come back with what we wanted or what we asked for or liked. And I love him.

My grandfather died in Gresham, but he used to live in Astoria. In fact, he retired in Astoria. But even though he passed away, he will always live in me and always be my hero.

Heroes unmasked

By Renee Riser, 11

Renee Riser

Do you think a hero is somebody that flies around in a cape fighting bad guys? Well if you do then you're wrong. A hero is someone who may save someone's life, or it might just be someone that you love a lot.

I know two heroes, who were only 9 years old when they became heroes. Their names are Chelsie Bouchard and Renee Riser - me.

And the reason people think of us as heroes is because in August 2000, our next-door neighbor tried to burn her house down. Chelsie and I yelled "Fire" because we saw smoke and flames coming from her back bedroom window. It turns out that the lady was arrested and we both got rewarded for what we did.

Chelsie is very courageous and is selfless. Now I, on the other hand, am almost the same, except for the fact that I get nervous sometimes. But when this happened it showed that we both had bravery and kindness.

Because of our quick thinking, we saved her life and the guy's life that lived in the same apartment complex. The chief fireman of the Astoria Fire Department said another two minutes and the apartment complex would have been toast.

I think this taught the neighborhood kids to always tell an adult if you see something bad. This incident was a very odd experience, and I hope it never happens again. But if it does, I know what to do.

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