Just what makes a Hometown Hero? For the past six months, The Meadville Tribune has asked readers and community members just that as it has received nominations for the title.
Hometown Heroes is an article series sponsored by Palmiero Toyota that runs each Monday. You, the readers, get to decide just who the Hometown Heroes are by submitting nominations of people you think deserve the title.
Over the months, one thing is certain: There is no set standard for what make a Hometown Hero in someone's eyes. No super-hero sized feats are needed either.
The list of Hometown Heroes has reached far and wide, including people well-known in the community to those who fly more under the radar.
We have had school teachers who go above and beyond in the classroom.
Some have jobs that require some heroism built in, such as a firefighter who volunteers extra time to help those with post-traumatic stress disorder, a police officer who works in schools and in keeping kids safe and a teen who is serving his country in the military.
We have had volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel who spend free time to help others in danger.
The district attorney's staff was profiled for its work in prosecuting crimes.
One was a mom who mentors other moms and another who runs a center for those unexpectedly finding themselves pregnant.
Retirees have shown they can stay active and serve their community through continuing education programs, volunteering with organizations such as the Red Cross, and just finding places to help and people to serve wherever they can.
Several have worked to build community by creating and volunteering for various community activities and finding ways to make our community an even better place.
One hero works to rescue animals. Others work to help those suffering from addiction or mental health issues.
Nearly every person interviewed so far has expressed a humbleness and protested being called a hero. Yet they have shared their stories to bring attention to a cause, to share their desire to help others, to encourage others to make a difference when and where they can. Some have declined all together, not wanting their own attention. No one is ever forced to participate.
We do want to see some kind of service to others or the community, usually as a volunteer, whether in an official capacity or a more informal way. If being nominated for their work, it should have some aspect of going above and beyond to help others in some way. While the majority have been individuals, groups or organizations also will be considered.
Other than that, the topic is wide open.
Do you have an idea of someone you think would make a good Hometown Hero? Simply email the name and some information — it can be just a few sentences or as much as you'd like to share — to the Meadville Tribune editor at email@example.com. We must have contact information, a phone number and preferably an email address as well when possible.
Nominees will be asked to do a short phone interview and either provide a photo, or be willing to have a photo taken, and published in the paper and online.
So let's see what other heroes are hiding in plain sight.
To nominate a Hometown Hero, send a brief couple sentences why that person is deserving to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Hometown Hero” in the subject line. Please include a daytime phone number and email address if possible.