As part of the job, I've just been reading an account of a Wellington couple who have fostered nearly 40 babies over the last 6 years. These kids come in from broken homes, some of them battered, some of them with drugs in their systems. The couple look after them for a week, a month, maybe three, and then pass them on to their parents, elsewhere in the family, or into adoptive care.
It's not a job that can be left to a bureaucracy - babies need love. This couple has to bond with these children, again and again and again - and then give them up, again and again and again. And what they get paid to do so barely covers baby clothes and gear - they lose money doing the job.
It's not glamorous; it's not lauded; it's not publicised. None the less, and for the benefit of forty lives and counting, what they do is an act of quiet heroism, an act of continuing low level bravery that gets done again and again and again by quiet people throughout society.
Just to recap - these people are in a very real sense heroes. This is not a hero.