I’ve been writing a lot lately about how we seem to have lost our way in this country; about how we value material possessions over family, friends, and belief in a higher power of our choosing. Today I was reminded that there are people who have never lost sight of what is most important in this life.

Dick Hoyt is one of these people. Soon after the birth of his son, Rick, he learned that the child had Cerebral Palsy. Doctors counseled the parents to put the child in an institution, since they were certain he would never walk or talk and would spend his days in a vegetative state. Fortunately, Dick did not listen to their advice. Instead, he raised Rick alongside the other children. When the other kids swam in the lake, Rick was supported in the water. When they traveled, Rick went too. And he responded – in a way that the doctors would have deemed impossible. Watch the inspirational story of “Team Hoyt” in the video, below.

I am in such awe of this family and especially of Dick. We often idolize celebrities, politicians, and sports figures, and they may well be great people. But in my book, Dick Hoyt is a true American hero. He’s a man who has his values in the right place.