Hero: Melvin H.
Description: A hard-working American
My dad, Melvin Hilbert, is like most hard-working Americans. He got up really early for work, put in his very best (and sometimes more) and always came home in time for dinner. Pretty simple on the surface, but a powerful example of work ethic. You can argue that what he did for our family is no different than others with the same commitment — but my hope is not to suggest that he is unique, but more so, that he can represent the values and passion of many folks in our country.
Melvin worked in a blue-collar industry, spending 40+ hours a week on an assembly line making car batteries. His hands were always callous, and I could feel it every time he took my hand. I will always remember the Ajax can under the sink, small holes on the top, the gritty powder and its clean smell — it always managed to get his hands clean, everytime.
When my brother and I graduated high school, my dad had made enough money for my brother and me to go to college. He had saved enough that our student loans weren’t too big. You could say it all paid off — I am gainfully employed today in a vocation I love, comfortably raising three kids along with my wife, Jen. In the end, I realize that my dad, Melvin, didn’t just provide for me but his generations to follow – he paid it forward and I don’t plan on letting him down.
Melvin Hilbert is 70 years old and still working to help folks, cleaning local churches and fire halls — and I am sure that can of Ajax is just within his reach. Melvin Hilbert is my Ajax hero.