CRYSTAL LAKE – If you tell substance abuse counselor Rick Atwater he's a hero, he'll probably disagree with you.
The same goes for breast cancer fundraiser Tina Hueppe and youth sports coach Dave Jenkins.
Lou Longo, who recycles aluminum cans and donates the funds to a domestic violence awareness agency, wouldn't call himself heroic.
But that is the commonality among everyday heroes. They don't believe the work they're doing is extraordinary; it's work that simply needs to be done.
On Thursday, these behind-the-scenes workers received recognition, as 28 McHenry County residents were honored at the 2014 Everyday Heroes Breakfast at the Crystal Lake Country Club.
They aren't serving on the front lines or running inside burning buildings. They aren't traveling into space or winning Nobel prizes. Instead, these are the "heroes that populate our lives," said Gene Brickhouse, the keynote speaker at Thursday's event.
"They are the ones who make our sun shine," Brickhouse said. "They are the ones that put comfort in our lives, that give us a reason to be, [and] make a difference in our lives."
These heroes are honored for their selflessness, courage, and willingness to act when no one else will, he said.
"There's not one ounce of egotism or narcism, only their own generosity and sacrifice," he said. "There are no agendas, no incentives. Only spontaneity. They see a circumstance. They see a need or a void or a want they see someone in trouble and they act."
The everyday heroes were nominated by their peers and featured in February publication produced by the Northwest Herald. Each person received an award and an Everyday Heroes hat at the breakfast.
"These 28 men and women don't seek recognition, but their efforts make McHenry county a better place to live," said Jason Schaumburg, editor of the Northwest Herald. "And it is our pleasure to recognize them today for all they do for our communities."