John Glenn was a U.S. Marine fighter pilot who flew 59 combat missions over the South Pacific during WWII and 63 combat missions during the Korean War. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism or extraordinary achievement six times! In Korea, he got the nickname "magnet ass" because he attracted so much enemy flak on his missions.
Oh, and then he went on to become a test pilot, the first American to orbit the Earth, a U.S. senator and then the oldest man to go into space.
He stopped flying planes at age 90.
"The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel." John Glenn.
If you're looking for someone children can look up to, he's it.