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Welcome to “Everyday Heroes,” a Northwest Herald special project celebrating local residents who selflessly donate their time and their talents to help those most in need. There are hundreds – thousands? – of everyday heroes living in our own communities.

They are the volunteers who make our McHenry County communities better places to live simply because they care. They are motivated not by money or success or prestige, but by a love for their fellow human beings and a deep desire to help.

In November, we asked our readers to nominate their unsung heroes – selfless local folks who give back to their communities in a variety of ways. Our readers responded in huge numbers. We received more than 100 nominations. Most of the nominees were worthy of making this project.

Brent

Beckwith

Provides financial assistance to families fighting cancer

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Kathy

Hahn

Provides rides to area seniors

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Dale

Sinderson

Brings his love of art to the people

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Andy

Warmus

Grows food for Algonquin food pantry

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Lou

Longo

Turns trash to cash for Turning Point

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Connie

Freund

Led pregnancy support center for 24 years

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Mary Kay

Horney

Raises money for mission trips to Haiti

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Barb

Majkrzak

Has volunteered with the Cub Scouts for 27 years

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Fred

Kaiser

Inspires students to achieve more than fitness

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Dave

Jenkins

Volunteers for CL South basketball team

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Donna

Vestal

Volunteers for On Angels' Wings Pet Rescue and others

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Amy

Racette

Mainstay in therapeutic horse-riding program

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Bill

Dysart

Volunteers at county historical society

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Denise

Graff Ponstein

The ‘quintessential community volunteer’

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Kathy

Cregan

Donates time to many local organizations

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Missy

Robel

Works to help veterans

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Craig

Wallace

Raises money to help families affected by cancer

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Alicia

Birong

Focuses on fostering confidence in youth

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Molly

Walsh

Volunteers with myriad local nonprofits

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Marianne

Ruiz

Helps vets through Joe’s Wish

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Tina

Hueppe

Leads breast cancer race team

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Rick

Atwater

Helps people with addictions

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Gail

Penn

Active in food pantry, choir and animal shelters

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Sherry

Roberts

Volunteers at Zion Lutheran Church and Bethesda home

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Penny

Johns-Thompsen

Volunteers for many local organizations

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Jean

Boyle

Helps those with Down syndrome

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Pam

Magnuson

Raised animal therapy dog, visits hospitals

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Kathy

Welch

Volunteers at Family Health Partnership Clinic

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