Heroes, they say, are all around us. And Thursday at 8 p.m. on TNT, we'll see one from Centereach: Marty McCloskey, one of nine men and women competing in physical, mental and moral challenges on the new reality show "The Hero," hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
McCloskey, a construction worker and occasional model who turned 25 Saturday, says his own hero is his father, also named Marty. "I'm super-hyper, just this crazy energy, and I can be kind of a handful at times," he says, "but my dad was always telling me to be a good guy, don't treat people bad, don't drink, don't party. Otherwise," he adds, half-jokingly, "I'd probably be in jail!"
Marty Sr., 56, does seem a sterling role model. When the Centereach-born Junior was 7 and the family was living in Florida, "Some stuff happened with my mom; my dad and my mom separated, and me, my dad and my brother came back to New York." Here on Long Island, he says, "My dad had to sacrifice his life to raise me and my brother. He didn't go out, didn't hang out with friends. He'd wake us up at 3:30 in the morning, drop us off at a baby-sitter or day care, then go to work from 6 in the morning all the way out in Montauk till 9:30, 10 o'clock at night. He did that every single day until pretty much a couple of years ago."
Mom was out of the picture. "She passed away last year, and before that the last time I saw her I was about 7. I didn't really talk to her too much -- maybe two or three times."
After all that, says McCloskey -- who graduated from Centereach High in 2006 and has been taking criminal justice and acting classes at Suffolk County Community College -- the challenges on "The Hero" didn't faze him. "I'm an adrenaline junkie, so the better chance I have to die, I'm, like, 'Yeah!' " he jokes.