For quite some time now I’ve been seeing SPEEDEE OIL CHANGE commercials on TV claiming that they are “Home Town Heroes.”  Heroes?  Really?

A few months ago I stopped by one of the local franchises to chat with the franchisee about the commercial but he/she wasn’t in.  I have a nice memorial on the back of my van honoring our son-in-law (Sgt Buddy James Hughie) and pointed it out to the manager on duty.  After saving the lives of two wounded comrades our American Hero was killed by a Taliban sniper while working on the third.  For his selfless acts of bravery under fire, Buddy was posthumously awarded two Bronze Star medals with Valor and a Purple Heart medal.

I have been growing more and more concerned about the use of the term “Hero.”  Especially as it relates to those using it for monetary gain.  To me (personally) it just seems inherritantly wrong for anyone to tout themself as a hero so they can put money in their pocket.  I mean in order to be truly heroic you should do something without expecting anything in return.  You know… make some sort of sacrifice.  Not, come on in and we will charge you $35.99 to change your oil and “save” your engine.

So anyway, I stopped by another SPEEDEE OIL CHANGE today.  I went in and there were two people behind the counter.  I thought they both looked familiar so I asked them if they were the “Home Town Heroes” I had seen on TV.  They said they were.  I then asked if I could speak with either or both of them privately.  Steve (the manager) nodded affirmatively and walked outside.  I introduced myself and then handed him a laminated card that has Buddy’s picture on it with the following verbage on it.

In Loving Memory of


Husband, Father, Son and an

American Hero

October 23, 1981 – February 19, 2007

Entered eternal rest serving in

Operation Enduring Freedom

Afghanistan, Asia

Steve took a quick glance at it and started to hand it back to me.  I told him to keep it and asked that when he had the time to Google Buddy to see what a remarkable hero he was.  I then explained that I was bothered by their advertisement that they were “Home Town Heroes.”  I asked how they could use the term “hero,” further stating that it cheapens its real meaning for people like our son-in-law.  Steve replies with something like, “hero” has been used for a long time.  What about the kid who has on a T-shirt saying his dad is his hero.  I replied that the kid’s dad has likely made sacrifices for his child and in all likelihood earned the right to be  called “hero.”  We went back and forth for a minute or two with silly stuff like that.  Here is my favorite part;

Steve:  What about the old lady who comes in here with a broken down car?  She can’t go see her family.  We fix her car and she gets to go see her family.  Don’t you think we are heroes to her?

Me:  Seriously?  That’s stretching it a bit don’t you think?

Steve:  Well I think you’re stretching it!

Me:  Wow. (turning to walk away)

Steve:  Have a nice day!

People like Steve and companies who use the term “Hero” in their marketing campaigns to put money in their pockets…. Well, to me, they are War Profiteers!  Our town has a somewhat large populous of military families and for SPEEDEE OIL CHANGE and others to try to push those emotional, patriotic buttons for financial gain (to me) is just despicable!

So, go anywhere but SPEEDEE OIL CHANGE to have your oil changed and car maintenance.  This is one family of a TRUE AMERICAN HERO who would certainly support you doing so!



  1. Some words are almost holy and some people make them all feel cheap. There is a Highway of Heroes in Canada, I know when there is a hero on it. I’m not usually one for beating the ‘hero’ drum even though many of my countrymen have given all over there. I thinks that’s our difference us guys and you down there. I feel it when they they are taken, I learn about who they are and I like it to quiet after. I think that’s how we do it here, my flag says it all for me and I lament the young men and women over their now, waiting for the war to end because I do not think there can be a ‘finish’. And back home, for many, there is no war, it doesn’t exist. It’s far away and for some, the few and becoming many, the war is in their home. Thanks for your well written piece.

  2. bobby somers says:

    Hey Mike,

    I agree with you completely. There are too many people who just want to make money at the cost of others. It is to bad that Steve or the management at speedy oil did not respect your position and think of another way to get people to come to their business. When he (Steve) said he fixed some old ladies car so she could see her family and equated that to a hero, well he or speedy oil might have been her hero if they did the work at a sacrifice of no charge or free, but I doubt that was the case.

    I will have you and speedy oil in my prayers. Also, that the memory of your son in law Bubby, will be honored. God Bless

  3. kweenmama says:

    I wanted to ask, like bobby somers, whether or not Speedy Oil Change would change the old lady’s oil for free. If they are doing that, then MAYBE they can be called heroes, but if they are charging her for it, they are simply a business…not heroes.

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