My hero, Ernie Wallengren, was a writer and a boys youth basketball coach in his spare time. He was a writer for "Bay Watch" and "The New Adventures of Flipper" . He coached for the Blue Eagle Force club team for ages 10 through 17 for more then seven years . What makes him my hero didn't come from his writing or his coaching, it came from the great person he was and the person he has helped me become. He showed me that life isn't about making money and having a good job, it's about the journey we all go through. The journey will make us stronger if we never give up and conquer our goals. Ernie Wallengren is my hero .

Ernie has always put others before himself and tried to make everything the best for other people. Before every basketball practice, he would pick up at least three players and drop them off . It was the same before and after every game, too. Ernie also always had a few dollars when you needed it for anything. We had these trips we called the AM-PM trips. He would have many players with him and we would go into AM-PM and you could get anything you wanted. He did so much more then a basketball coach is expected to do.

Coach Wallengren went beyond the amount needed to make sure every kid got the same opportunity to play basketball. Anytime you went to Ernie's house, it was full. He had his wife Cheryl, his kids Alex, Katie, Seth, Brian, Danialand at least 3 players. The players were always at his house just hanging out watching television, playing video games, swimming in his pool, and playing basketball. At one point, he even had one player live with him at his house for almost a year long when his family was going through rough times. Ernie always put others before himself.

In the year 2000, Ernie Wallengren was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a nerve disease that has no cure. After he was diagnosed, it was a three year battle before he passsed away. The basketball team got a new coach when Ernie was first diagnosed. Even when the disease got so bad that he was in a wheelchair, he still came to the games and practices, even though it would take about three hours to get ready. When he was diagnosed, he still put others before himself. Before he passed he wrote me a letter, it said, "Whatever life throws at you, never ever give up." Ernie never gave up until his last breath on May 27, 2003. He was surrounded by his whole family and many of his basketball players. Most of the players looked to him as another father as I did. Ernie was the most helpful person I've ever met all the way up until his last breath .

Ernie Wallengren is my hero because he always put other people before himself, even during his desease and he showed great determination trying to fight Lou Gerhig's disease. He showed me that it is important to put others before yourself. Ernie also showed me that life is a journey and you must never give up and always try to fight your way through life. Ernie Wallengren is my hero .

Written by Shane from Woodland Hills