When Professor Brian Brenberg, chair of Business and Finance at The King’s College, spoke at Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch conference this past June, he talked about heroes. Some are easily recognized– those who save other people’s lives or who dedicate their lives to serving the poor. The positive impact these people have on others is easy to grasp, but Professor Brenberg wanted to draw attention to a different, lesser-known hero– someone whom he referred to as the “mundane hero”.

Mundane heroes do not get the acclaim that inspiring leaders or activists receive, but their impact on the daily lives of millions of Americans is immeasurable. Who are these heroes? They are the millions of ordinary Americans who make it possible for society to run smoothly.

One example that Professor Brenberg gave is an airplane mechanic. We never think about them until the airplane we are going to be flying in breaks down and they are called in for repairs. It is thanks to the mechanic, the mundane hero, that Americans can fly across the continent in only a few short hours. Without mechanics’ skilled labor to maintain the airplanes that Americans rely on for business and pleasure, air travel would be significantly less reliable and more miserable. Yet, we do not thank the mechanics for this essential service. Instead, their work is taken for granted. Rather than be grateful for these heroes’ work we grumble because we expect our plane should be in perfect condition.

The airplane mechanic is just one example of a mundane hero who improves the lives of fellow Americans every day without the praise and adoration that others may receive. Given the complexity of the American economy, mundane heroes impact our everyday lives in countless ways. It is because of such heroes, for example, that Americans do not have to worry about the shortages of toilet paper and other basic necessities that Venezuelans are currently dealing with. Americans can thank the mundane heroes who transport food and other goods wherever they are needed, who stock the shelves in stores every day, and who provide the many services that we take for granted.

To hear Professor Brenberg speak live, register to attend YAF’s Road to Freedom Seminar on September 20-21, 2019! 

Karl Stahlfeld is the associate director of YAF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise.