The Things They Carried

According to the narrator, Elroy Bendahl became the “hero of my life” in the summer of 1968. Why?

why does he call him a hero

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Elroy is an elderly man who owns the lodge on the border with Canada. He knows that O'Brien is there trying to decide whether to evade the draft, but does not push the matter or make the boy talk about the decision. He had a "silent and watchful presence" The narrator feels that Elroy gently brought him to his realities, taking "me to the edge."