We just need to look around ourselves a bit to find them.
Maybe the problem is we don't want to look around ourselves to see that we are the lesser of other men. We don't want to see that we could improve ourselves, and become better. We prefer to think we are the best, rather than that there is somebody better. Perhaps we don't want to look too close at these people for fear of finding out something that shatters the illusion of them being a hero?
I have a hero - a dear friend who someday soon will be my brother-in-law - but I will always think of him as my friend, for we each can pick our friends, but we are stuck with our family (ok, maybe we can pick our inlaws too, but that would be a crappy reason to dump someone you love).
Anyhow, my friend is a honest man - one of the most honest I have known. He is also a very giving individual - I have often said that if you and him were lost in the desert and dying of thirst, he would give you the shirt off his back and spit in your mouth to keep you alive - that is how giving this individual is. He loves his wife dearly (my girlfriend's sister).
He recently bought her a new house in San Diego, where they had a long and protracted court battle to gain easement rights. They recently won, after spending untold thousands in court fees and lawyers, all the while paying for the mortgage on the house. She lives in the new house, because he has to work here in Phoenix for the time being (he's a self-employed dump truck driver). He lives in my girlfriend's mother's basement apartment. This has gone on for two years. He has worked daily these two years, still does, weekends included, 12-18 hour days, sometimes even putting in 24 hour shifts - just for this house for his wife. Sitting in a truck. Hauling rock, maybe only a distance of a few hundred feet - other times damn near halfway across the state. Through winter with no heat, and summer with no airconditioning.
Yet he always has a smile. Even with all this, he is always willing to help out - to find a little time to do something (my GF's mother is old and needed the oil changed in her car, so he did it for her). My girlfriend and I try to help where we can, when we can - but it is never enough (small things, like keeping him company or making him a sandwitch and some lemonade).
I strive to be like him - I think I am pretty successful in the relationship front - just the other day, his wife came to Phoenix for a visit, and in the process she helped to clean up her mother's backyard. It had a lot of weeds around it, and my friend's backhoe was there, so she tried to clean the weeds using the backhoe (she knows how to operate it fine - she is definitely no ditz). Problem was that it doesn't have good brakes (I know, I have run it - and it is scary - step on the brake - no brakes!), so while she was cleaning near a block concrete wall, she hit the wall accidently, knocking it down. They now (in addition to the lawyer and other bills) have to pay to repair the wall. She called my friend on the phone to let him know - and while he wasn't happy about the situation - he never yelled, never called her any kind of name, said it would be alright, and that it would be taken care of.
That is a hero - one I am proud to know.