Valley native Chris Benguhe didn’t have to look far to find a hero when he was growing up.

"My parents were Italian immigrants and grew up in poverty," said the former People magazine writer.

"But I remember my dad turned down a huge job offer in Los Angeles that would have paid him gobs of money because I had an asthmatic attack from the smog. He knew the health and happiness of his family was the most important thing and he wouldn’t abandon that for money. Those everyday little events are what makes someone a hero."

Benguhe wrote about many homegrown heroes in "Triumph of the Heart" and its sequel, "Triumph of the Heart: Book II." And as he wrote the two inspirational books, Benguhe said he realized that all the people he was writing about had a set traits they shared with his father that made them heroic. Benguhe outlines the qualities he believes create heroes in his latest book, "Beyond Courage: The 9 Principles of Heroism."

"I realized that even though these people came from different walks of life, were of different religions, from different regions of the county, the thing they all had in common was a different way of looking at life," the Arizona State University graduate said. "They were all devoted to definitive set of principles that led them through good times and bad times. They all realized that money or power shouldn’t be the primary goal. Their only goal was to love the people around them and receive love back. Then they worked everything else in their life around that one goal."

The traits Benguhe found that all true heroes possess are integrity, duty, selfrespect, faith, devotion, altruism, compassion, the ability to listen and forgiveness.

"Certainly, it was easier to be more focused on heroism after Sept. 11 (2001)," Benguhe said. "The only way we could get over something like that was to live by these kind of ideas and concepts."

The key now, Benguhe said, is to avoid getting distracted and giving priority to secondary goals like making more money or becoming more successful.

"We have to be careful not to look at the world and say, ‘Everything’s fine now,’ " he said. "We’re all part of this great grand experiment we call humanity. By adhering to these nine key principles that can transform you into a hero, you will enhance the lives of everyone around you, which will also enhance the world."

Author appearances

Valley native Chris Benguhe will discuss the concept outlined in his book "Beyond Courage: The 9 Principles of Heroism" at several local locations.

To learn more, contact the author by e-mail at Wednesday: Free discussion and reading, 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, (480) 538-8520.

Saturday: Free discussion and reading, 2 p.m. at Borders, 2402 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, (602) 957-6660. June 21: "How to be a Hero Workshop: The 9 Principles of Heroism and Happiness," $35, 9 a.m. to noon with a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at the Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, (480) 948-7460. July 9: Free discussion and reading, 7 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, (480) 730-0205.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.