Most of us are selfish by nature, hard-wired to put ourselves first.
There are a few exceptions -- police officers, firefighters, and military service members -- people whose work is tough, under paid, often thankless and, potentially, life-threatening.
The qualities required for these sorts of jobs are the same ones found on your average superhero's resume -- physical strength, mental toughness, courage under fire, leadership, honor, and, above all, an unwavering dedication to serve one's country or community and protect it at all costs.
My friend Corey Pennington has all of those traits.
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The 27-year-old psychology major is a tall, lumbering, broad-shouldered man with auburn hair and a reddish 5 o'clock shadow to match. His size and stature are intimidating at first. But he is best known for his frank honesty, quick wit, and quirky sense of humor. The Orlando, Fla., native exuded an air of confidence as we talked work school and football over lunch last week at Captain Woody's in Bluffton.
Corey's journey to USCB mirrored my own.
The former college athlete enlisted in the Marine Corps after a year of college, landing at Parris Island in 2005. Two years later, he married his wife, Kim. During his first enlistment, he was deployed twice to Fallujah, Iraq, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He returned to Parris Island and fell in love with the Lowcountry lifestyle. That love was deep enough that even though he knew his stint at the depot wasn't a permanent one, he bought a house in Bluffton
"Just look around," he said as he extended his arm in a sweeping motion. "What else do you really need? I couldn't imagine living anywhere else."
I first met Corey in late 2011, when we were both assigned to the same platoon at Camp Lejeune. We had no idea we were about to be deployed for 11 months in support of Operations Odyssey Dawn off the coast of Libya.
I was nervous about fighting a new war.
Corey wasn't. He approached everything with a comic nonchalance. That had a calming effect on me and the other Marines around him. It helped everyone keep a level head, even when the circumstances were extreme.
Not long after he got back, Corey decided to return to Bluffton with his wife and newborn daughter, Kylie.
He knew he wanted to finish his degree, but with a baby and wife to support, his VA education benefits simply weren't enough.
But all that wasn't enough to stop him, either.
He took classes and worked part-time jobs to make ends meet.
But in the end, he couldn't deny what he sees as his calling in life -- to help others. That's when he decided to apply for a position as a USCB campus police officer.
Juggling a family, classes, and, now, a career as a police officer wasn't easy.
To maximize his time with his family, he often works the night shift, 48 hours a week. That takes a toll on the amount of sleep he gets during the school year.
But it also answers a deeply felt need.
"Many veterans don't get the opportunity to leave the service and get a job like this," he said. "I appreciate that (Chief D. Henry Garbade) took a chance on me. It also allows me to work on my degree full-time while also providing me with the feeling of doing something productive."
Corey has his goals lined up: get a Master's degree in counseling and become a high school guidance counselor and football coach in the area.
Expect this "superhero" to achieve them.
He's got the resume for it.
Brian Vosicky is a Marine Corps veteran who served in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. He is studying psychology at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.