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. Read More >>
The definition of a hero differs from person to person. Many people deserving of recognition are too humble to see the difference they make.
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For each Hero, click to play a video, and to read their story.
Five videos will be revealed each day, so check back often.
Delivers meals to Seniors for The Salvation Army.
Volunteer nurse at the Family Health Partnership Clinic in Woodstock.
PADS site manager at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Cary.
A Woodstock Police Officer, he saved a 9-month-old from choking.
These videos will be available Sunday, February 26
Diagnosed with autism, he has overcome many obstacles.
Always opens his doors for a neighbor in need.
President of Guardian of the Ribbon, known for pink firetrucks,
Helped start the Cary-Grove Fights Hunger campaign.
These videos will be available Monday, February 27
Her kindness extends to the whole neighborhood and beyond.
Helps senior citizens in Port Barrington, works as a firefighter.
Volunteers at Grafton Food Pantry, "paying it forward."
Helped raise nearly $40,000 for battling cancer through “Heroes for Hope."
These videos will be available Tuesday, February 28
Leads land conservation in the Dutch Creek conservation area.
Gene & Sarah
Work with the Crystal Lake Jaycees on a variety of projects.
Nearly every day of the week, Glenn is volunteering somewhere.
Picks up litter on a two-mile walk through Crystal Lake each morning.
These videos will be available Wednesday, February 29
A retired truck driver that volunteers for several groups.
Started Blessing Barn, a non-profit providing donated items.
The Crystal Lake Fire Rescue public education coordinator.
Leads 80 active members in his Neighborhood Watch in Cary.
These videos will be available Thursday, March 1
Volunteers as a wish-granter with the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Shelters cats in her basement and volunteers with other animals.
Founded 'Hero in the Hallway' to stop school bullying.
Focused on preserving history with McHenry County organizations.
These videos will be available Friday, March 2
Has been helping families in Haiti for over 20 years.
Coordintes the Love Lights a Tree memorial, raises money for organizations.
Founded Cary-Grove Neighborhood Life, helping people in need.
Makes walking sticks for cancer patients at Provena St. Joseph Hospital.
These videos will be available Saturday, March 3
The head of a local PADS program, he passed away Dec. 22.
Volunteers and raises funds for many local social service agencies.
A cancer survivor, she donates time at Helping Paws Animal Shelter.
Larry & Stella
The couple has served as 'bigs' for nearly 15 years.
These videos will be available Sunday, March 4
Currently working on her 10th home through Habitat for Humanity.
Travels to Haiti with The Church of Holy Apostles each year.
Has been a friend to Pioneer Center since retiring in 1999.
Fostered over 100 dogs through Animal House Shelter of Huntley.
These videos will be available Monday, March 5
A foster mom to five children ages 8 to 16, she is planning to adopt all five.
Travels the world teaching kids to play violin.
A Cub Scout leader since 2008, expert cold-weather camping.
A Girl Scout leader and volunteer for 13 years.
These videos will be available Tuesday, March 6
Meets with veterans going through stress disorder treatment.
Fundraiser for United Way through her company, True Value.
Margaret Boettjer, Janice Piesens, and Theresa Behrens of Troop 454.
Coaches and fundraises for Crystal Lake youth sports.
These videos will be available Wednesday, March 7
Hosts monthly bingo for seniors at the Crystal Lake Culvers.
Serves with The Salvation Army and founded Tommy’s Angels.
Web project by
Video footage, Photos by
Jenny Kane, Lance Booth, Lauren Anderson
Video editing, Intro video by