On Friday, May 16, I was reminded that not all heroes wear capes. These individuals can be right amongst us, and we would never know unless someone else spoke up for them.
The sheriff's deputy you just passed on the road teamed up with an off-duty EMT to save a woman from a burning car. A member of your local fire department has dedicated over 50 years of his life serving his community, responding to emergencies and helping his neighbors. Your co-worker who you casually greet in passing during shift change every day saved another coworker by giving him CPR when he collapsed of a heart attack.
The nice man you met while adopting your new pet from the Humane Society has done so much more for animals than you could possibly imagine.
How about that young teenage boy who you think probably spends all his time texting his friends? He's really been in other countries with Habitat for Humanity building homes for families in dire need.
Our heroes even come in the form of town supervisors, who do so much more out of the limelight to educate and make our communities a better place to live.
These are the stories of our 2014 Hometown Heroes - everyday people doing extraordinary acts to better mankind, and asking absolutely nothing in return.
Thankfully, these individuals were nominated by people who felt the need to make sure we all know how special these heroes without capes are.
We were privileged to honor award winners on Friday, May 16 at the Moon Brook Country Club, along with our major sponsor Cummins Inc., Jamestown Engine Plant. Our awards were sponsored by Farm Fresh Foods, Chautauqua Patrons Insurance Company, Bush Industries, Nestle Purina PetCare, KeyBank, Everyday's True Value and Cummins Inc. Tables were also sponsored by Jamestown Mattress, DFT Communications and Van Rensselaer & Son Funeral Home.
I'd like to thank everyone who nominated a hero this year. There were many compelling individuals that were submitted. We look forward to introducing you to a new group of Chautauqua County heroes next year.
If you have someone who you feel should be recognized as a Hometown Hero, please call our Chapter office at 664-5115. We will be happy to help you ensure that the individual or group will be entered for next year's event.
Kathy Burch is the assistant executive director of the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York.