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These ‘Heroes’ worth celebrating

Published: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

We all know that McHenry County is a great place to live. But have you ever wondered why?

Maybe it’s because there are so many of our neighbors out there trying to make our little corner of the world even better.

They quietly go about their efforts to help others, never really asking for recognition.

But they are worthy of our praise. It’s that sometimes we just have to look around to see them.

We asked our readers to do just that back in November, when we invited you to submit your nominations for those you considered to be Everyday Heroes.

Scores of you responded, and a panel led by Editor Dan McCaleb chose this year’s 36 honorees.

As you read their stories, you’ll see that our Everyday Heroes span generations.

They are helping those in need, giving their time to area children, providing a listening ear to our senior citizens, and sometimes just doing random acts of kindness.

They are people like Laurie Selpien, who is using her love of gardening not only to grow fruits and vegetables for the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Food Pantry, but also to help people learn how to grow produce themselves.

They are selfless mothers such as Chris Newlon, who tirelessly advocates for her daughter, Rebecca, and children like her with Down syndrome through GiGi’s Playhouse in McHenry.

They are retirees such as Tom Erwin, who serves as a volunteer handyman at domestic violence agency Turning Point in Woodstock. He’s saved the agency thousands of dollars in repair costs, yet he will tell you he’s just trying to keep busy.

There are more, but you’ll find out about them soon enough. We thank each and every one for the good they are doing in the community.

And if you’re feeling inspired after you’ve read them all, we’ve included a section at the end that just might help you find a place where you can be an Everyday Hero, too.

• Joan Oliver is the assistant news editor for the Northwest Herald. She can be reached at 815-526-4552 or by email at

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