Who are your ‘Unsung Heroes?’

Published 12:59 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Not all four-letter words are the kind that make you blush when they slip from your lips. “Hero” is one that we toss around pretty freely but probably don’t truly think about nearly enough.

According to the smart people at Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a hero is “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities; one who shows great courage.”

On paper, this definition is just a collection of words that do not really mean that much. In life, these personify many of the characteristics that make individuals special.

Some heroes are easy to identify — police officers, firefighters, those serving in the military, etc. — but others are not as quickly recognized.

We need your help in finding Michiana’s “Unsung Heroes,” individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty every day, making a real difference in the community and in the lives of others.

And, odds are, these men and women are right in front of you.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They are from all socioeconomic backgrounds and occupations. Neither gender nor race or religious beliefs, or any other societal labels are relevant.

Heroes’ actions speak for themselves.

A hero may be the senior citizen who makes huge personal sacrifices to help a friend or neighbor in need.

It could be the businessman who burns the midnight oil in his day job every week but still finds time to be a positive leader in a civic club, church activity or other community project.

What about the school teacher who spends money out of her own pocket to ensure that her students have all the supplies needed to learn? She is a hero as far as I am concerned.

Or it might be the mother or father who has always worked hard to provide for their family, overcoming some of the trying challenges that life tends to throw at you along the way.

The scenarios go on and on.

Help us find the individuals who meet these definitions and deserve this honor and recognition.

Send nominations to:

“Unsung Heroes” c/o Leader Publications, LLC, 217 N. Fourth St., Niles, MI 49120.

Write a brief description of why this individual is an unsung hero. Nominations must include your name, address and phone number but you can request to remain anonymous when it comes to publication or letting the individual know. Deadline for entry is Friday, Jan. 24.

We will feature as many of these as possible in our annual Horizons edition in February. It is a special project that means a lot to the community, the newspaper staff who puts months of hard work into it and dozens of advertisers who help us showcase our communities.

The “Unsung Heroes” can make the publication extra special because they are the individuals you — our readers — feel deserve to be recognized.

Most of the time these men and women will say they don’t deserve any recognition. That is exactly why they do. Leader Publications wants to make sure they are not “unsung” too much longer.