Oliver: ‘Everyday Heroes’ has good news, good people

“There’s never any good news in the paper” is one of the things I hear a lot.

Sometimes those who say it actually subscribe to the paper. I suspect that a lot of them do not.

Positive stories are there, but they’re not always the ones that catch our attention.

It’s human nature to focus on the negative; I’m guilty of it, too. The times we live in are tough. It’s understandable that from time to time we get a little shortsighted.

So I’m happy to point out a very positive special section, “Everyday Heroes,” that will be coming out Saturday.

Back in November, we asked you to nominate people in the community who are making McHenry County an even better place to live. We were looking for the behind-the-scenes people who don’t often get the spotlight for the good things they do.

From your nominations, this year’s 36 honorees were selected.

They range in age from teenagers to those who are well into their retirement years.

Each and every one of them has a positive, inspiring story to tell.

In the section, you’ll meet Spring Grove teacher Sue Cisko, who was nominated by her neighbor Marlene Nei. Not only does Cisko work tirelessly to help her students at Nippersink Middle School, but Nei also was touched by the support Cisko showed her when she was dealing with her husband’s health issues.

Then there’s John Diedrich, who owns Locker’s Flowers in McHenry. Each week he donates an armload of flowers to the ladies at Alden Terrace of McHenry, a rehabilitation and health care center. Other flower recipients have been GiGi’s Playhouse in McHenry and Faith in Action.

Especially inspiring is the story of Sue Manderscheid of Johnsburg. She donates her time in the cafeteria at Centegra Hospital – McHenry. She started volunteering as part of her physical therapy to recover from traumatic brain injuries after a car accident. She liked it so much that she stayed. You’ll recognize her by her beautiful smile and by the dozens of pins she wears on her blue vest.

It’s with particular delight that I mention Everyday Hero Jerry Eiserman, who was nominated for his work with Mission Possible at McHenry’s First United Methodist Church. Through the program, young people get an opportunity to give back to the community through volunteer work.

Eiserman has been helping to inspire youth for a very long time. In fact, it was when he was a math teacher at Parkland Middle School that I had the pleasure of being inspired by him myself. (Way to go, Mr. Eiserman!)

You’ll note a common thread with all of our Everyday Heroes: They use what they have – talents, energy, resources, time – to help others.

That’s a pretty good example for all of us. And I hope you’ll find their stories as inspiring as I did.

See, there really is good news in the paper. Stay tuned for an extra helping on Saturday.

• 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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