Dec 14, 2020
This has been a year of struggle for so many reasons. Thankfully, many heroes selflessly stepped up to help those in need. Teachers, first responders, medical workers, military service members, and nurses, to name just a few.
We want to honor some of these heroes.
You submitted your heroes, and we've selected 20 to receive a free Jamber gift set, and a certificate of recognition.
Here are the winners, and their stories.
1. Sarah H. (Aurora, NY)
2. Amy and Mike A. (Abington, MA)
3. Tom C. (Greenville, TN)
4. Tosha D. (Arthur, IL)
5. Elizabeth H. (Long Island, NY)
6. Carol C. (Hopewell Junction, NY)
7. Ron S. (Vero Beach, FL)
8. Emily B. (Clinton, MI)
9. Erica F. (Malvern, PA)
10. Becki G. (Woodlawn, TN)
11. David S. (Marietta, OH)
12. Gary L. (Talihina, OK)
13. Kevin J. (Auburn, NY)
14. Sarah S. (Richmond, VA)
15. Renee S. (Lansing, MI)
16. Tom G. (Nashville, NC)
17. Krista P. (Seminole, FL)
18. Ben K. (Marysville, OH)
19. William K. (LaGrange, OH)
20. Amy P. (Fayetteville, TN)
1. Sarah H. - Mother of 6, and First Female Fire Chief of Cayuga County
“My wife Sarah is a role model to our community, to all firefighters, and to our family. She’s the first female Fire Chief in all of Cayuga County. She joined the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department at only 16 years old, and has now been with the department for over 20 years. She's a firefighter and an EMT, and is now certified as an EMS instructor. Our 16-year-old son has decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps, having joined the department this past summer. If this is not enough, my super-wife home schools our youngest 5 children and takes care of her own father (a retired firefighter with some major health issues). My wife is simply amazing and deserves recognition for her tireless service to others.” - Kevin H.
2. Amy and Mike A. - Front Line Working Family Strong
Amy and Mike are a husband-and-wife team who are both heroes. Amy is an RN in the ICU of the local hospital. She treats and cares for the most severe COVID patients - doing everything humanly possible to keep her patients alive and healthy. This is often extremely difficult and sad work, but she comes to work everyday with a smile and an open heart. She’s the kind of nurse who loves and supports not only her patients, but also their families. She wears her heart on her sleeve. Mike, her husband, is a police officer, who was recently promoted to Sergeant. Mike has dedicated his life to keeping his community safe. Mike proudly served in the United States Marine Corps, with a deployment to Afghanistan. Together, Amy and Mike are protecting and caring for their community. They are also raising their 2 young boys, who are their reason for living. They are an amazing family that represents the best of America.
3. Tom C. - Vietnam Veteran, Hero Husband
Tom is an American hero. He is a Vietnam veteran, who served in the Air Force for 22 years. Tom came home from war, after being exposed to Agent Orange, to a country that rejected him, despite his heroism in battle. Now, almost 50 years later, Tom is still fighting. However, now he fights to breathe, to get out of bed, and to walk 15 feet. The Agent Orange ravaged his body, leaving him with constant pain, with only 11% lung capacity, and with the need to be on oxygen 24/7. His doctors are continuously amazed at Tom’s sheer determination to live, despite his injuries.
“Tom is still my hero, and now I am proud to serve him. He will be 73 on January 3rd, and we will have our 48th Wedding Anniversary February 17th. THANK YOU for the chance to honor MY HERO HUSBAND”. - Irene C.
4. Tosha D. - Super Mom, Super Nurse, Cancer Survivor, Army National Guard
Tosha is ArmyStrong, MomStrong, and ToshaStrong. She proudly served in the Army National Guard for more than 20 years. While on active duty, she was diagnosed and beat breast cancer. Later, while still on active duty, her 4 year old little boy was diagnosed with a horribly aggressive form of childhood cancer. This little fighter (like his mom!) beat the cancer, and is still a cancer survivor today!!! These experiences, combined with the atrocities that she saw while deployed to Afghanistan, inspired Tosha to go back to school to become an ICU nurse. Now, she treats patients in the Chicago area suffering from gunshot wounds, and all sorts of other trauma. If this is not enough, Tosha is putting herself through medical school part time. Tosha’s oldest son is proudly following in his mom’s footsteps - he is in the Army National Guard, and just returned home - only a few days ago - from a deployment, surprising Tosha in a heart-warming surprise reunion. Her son is home for Christmas. Tosha has got to be one of the strongest women in the country. We are humbled to award her a MY HERO award.
5. Elizabeth H. - NYC ER Nurse, Comforting Dying COVID Patients, Quarantined From Her Own Young Children
Elizabeth is an ER Nurse, working just outside of NYC. She worked through the COVID pandemic without a day of rest. This required that she stay away from her own two young children in a self-imposed quarantine. Meanwhile, Elizabeth stayed with dying patients, comforting them as much as she could while they lay intubated and on ventilators. Elizabeth is a hero - a selfless, strong nurse, sacrificing so much to care for so many during this unprecedented time when so many have suffered and died from a horrible virus COVID-19. Truly a frontline hero.
6. Carol C. - Super Nurse In New York
Carol, a nurse in New York, was ready to retire earlier this year after being diagnosed with Sarcoidosis - an incurable inflammatory disease that’s already claimed the life of one relative. Then the Coronavirus pandemic came, and everything changed. Selflessly, Carol put her retirement on hold, and started treating COVID patients. Knowing that getting COVID could be especially problematic if she contracted the virus herself, she worked weeks without a single day off through the first wave. She is now scheduled to retire in January, yet still works with passion, and even helps out on her days off. Her selflessness is inspiring.
7. Ron S. - Korean War Veteran, Unsung Hero
“My brave and quiet unsung HERO is a Purple Heart recipient from the Korean War. Ron has seen more than any human should, has been in terrible situations during the war, yet survived it all with grace and fortitude. Even now, with Parkinson's Disease, he endures each day with determination and a drive to keep going. He's a "survivor" of life. My precious veteran, our family patriarch, is our beloved and timeless hero." - Beverly S.
8. Emily B. - Nurse and Young Mom
Emily works tirelessly as a nurse at Ascension Saint John’s Hospital in Detroit Michigan, while still managing to raise her 1 yr. old baby. This last year has been especially difficult for Emily. She works endlessly long shifts, witnesses heartbreaking situations to always care for the sick and suffering. Then, she goes home to care for a baby that often requires sleepless nights. Emily is a hero. Thank you, Emily.
9. Erica F. - Special Ed Teacher Extraordinaire
Erica is a new Special Education teacher who has gone above and beyond to care for her students and their families. Over Thanksgiving, she learned that a student’s family had no food for Thanksgiving. She found out what they needed, bought it all (on her teacher’s salary!), cooked the meal, including dessert (for a family of 8!), and then delivered the whole meal to the family. In her free time, she volunteers at a soup kitchen, and does whatever she can to help those in need. Erica is an amazing young woman.
10. Becki G. - COVID Nurse, Single Mother, Tireless Fighter
"My sister, Becki, is my hero. She’s a hospital floor nurse, specializing in cardiology. She’s 61 yrs. old and has spent her entire life furthering her nursing education as she’s able to afford it (she’s currently pursuing her Nurse Practitioner Degree), all the while juggling raising her two daughters as a single parent and commuting an extraordinarily long commute between her home in rural Tennessee into Nashville hospitals. And if that's not enough, she also teaches clinical to nursing students. When COVID hit Nashville, she was among the first to volunteer to work on the COVID-19 units, despite her age which exempts her from working with COVID patients, because she saw how hard it was on everyone and knowing that everyone is in this together. I could go on and on, but this is supposed to be brief, so I'll just end this the same way I started, and say that my sister, Becki, is my hero." - Carolyn P.
11. David S. - Veteran, Firefighter, Paramedic, Mentor, Big Brother
“David has spent his entire life saving other people. He was a military police officer in the Air Force from 1962-1966. He left the military and became a welder. He went on to get married, raise a family, and over the years, became a mentor to countless individuals, both young and old. He became a volunteer firefighter and a paramedic. He proudly served his community until Parkinson's Disease forced him to retire. I am very proud, and very fortunate, to call David my hero, and my big brother.” - Sue A.
12. Gary L. - RN, Paramedic, Firefighter Leading COVID Efforts
“Gary is the Director of Nursing at a rural hospital in Oklahoma and has relied on his experiences as a registered nurse, paramedic, retired firefighter, and Fire Chief to lead efforts to keep our small town safe during the COVID pandemic. He has coordinated the setup of a field hospital and several testing sites. He is continually re-writing policies to fit the ever-evolving situation with COVID to keep his patients and staff safe. He keeps an open line of communication with his field staff, including all the nurses to hear each and every concern. Gary is a true hero to our town, to his staff, and to me.” - Luke L.
13. Kevin J. - COVID Nurse, Hero Dad to a little Toddler
My brother is a nurse, and is my hero. He has worked tirelessly to treat COVID patients, while juggling being a dad (and husband) to a beautiful little toddler. In fact, he has had to quarantine himself away from both his own wife and toddler, as well as from his parents and 7 siblings during much of the pandemic to keep them safe. Kevin is a selfless hero, doing whatever he can to save as many people as he can.” - Sarah H.
14. Sarah S. - COVID ER Nurse, Saving Lives Everyday
"My niece worked the COVID ER during the pandemic, while training to become a nurse anesthetist. Not surprisingly, she contracted COVID, and then returned back to helping COVID patients as soon as she was cleared. She never stopped helping others, and she never stopped bettering herself. Despite being exhausted, overwhelmed, frightened, (and eventually sick herself), my niece has stayed in the frontlines of the COVID surge, so that she can save as many lives as she can. She is my hero." - Dawn P.
15. Renee S. - Nurse with RA, Raising 3 Young Children
“Renee is my niece and is my hero. She’s a young mom of 3 young children, was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and is an RN committed to helping people. This year has been hard, yet Renee has persevered. It would be nice if someone acknowledged her for her tireless work to help others.” - Mary D.
16. Tom G. - Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), Shining Example During COVID
Tom is a shining example of a medical worker who is deeply committed to doing whatever he can to keep his patients, the most severe COVID cases, alive. Tom is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), responsible for operating the ventilators that the sickest COVID patients rely on to breathe. Tom has not missed a single day of work since the COVID pandemic began. Even the hospital administration has documented his tireless dedication to keeping patients healthy. In addition to not having missed a single shift, Tom also volunteers when others are out. At 63 years old, he should be slowing down, but Tom is as determined as ever to do whatever he can to help those most in need. In doing so, Tom is a shining example of selfless heroism for us all.
17. Krista P. - Special Ed Teacher Going Above and Beyond
Krista has been a special ed teacher for 23 years. During the pandemic she was asked to take over teaching the autistic class. This has always been her dream job, so of course she jumped at the opportunity. Teaching autistic students is challenging during the best of times because of their inability to easily communicate, but it has become extremely difficult during the pandemic for obvious reasons - the required social distancing, required mask wearing (her students are not required to wear masks), and all the rest of the new behaviors that we’ve all been asked to adhere to. Krista uses tape on the floors to set boundaries. She drops off work to the carports of the virtual students and then picks up the completed work every few days. She loves these students, and she loves the challenge of teaching them. Krista receives glowing praise from other teachers and staff. She was even nominated as “Teacher of the Year” after only 1 year at her new school system. I am very proud to call Krista my daughter and my hero.
18. Ben K. - Dedicated Band Teacher
“My husband, Ben, has been the band director at Fairbanks local schools in Marysville, Ohio, for 27 years. Despite the COVID pandemic raging all around us, and despite the risk to his own safety, my Ben has made it his mission to make sure his kids can still safely practice music as an outlet for the mounting stress that has sadly become the norm in this post-COVID world. Ben dedicated his entire summer to researching safety protocol, and even went as far as writing new marching band formations to account for COVID distancing requirements. Ben’s dedication to the mental well-being and growth of his students is inspiring and should be honored." - Amy K.
19. William L. - Life Long Protector and Defender
I have known this man for over 40 year. He has been a police officer, a volunteer firefighter, a paramedic, an ordained minister, a nurse, a red cross volunteer, a ham radio operator. During all of this time, he has protected, defended, comforted and cared for so many people. William is a hero to so many, and I don’t think he has ever been acknowledged for his life-long commitment to helping others.
20. Amy P. - A Math Teacher Not Giving Up
Amy is a middle school math teacher, with 3 children at home, trying her best to keep her students engaged. The COVID pandemic has made an already difficult subject and an already difficult age (middle schoolers!) more difficult. To overcome this, Amy has worked tirelessly to inspire her students to love math and to engage with the subject, despite the many new obstacles that come with a national pandemic and remote learning. And she does this whale also trying to raise her own three children. She is not unique in all she does as there are so many amazing teachers dealing with the same things, but Amy tries very hard to make a difference in her student’s lives.
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