Heroes may be living right next door

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 14, 2010

When looking for a hero, we should never forget to look in the most unlikely of places.

Of course you can find heroes in Lawrence County’s police stations, fire stations, overseas in military bases and all the other locations that you would expect to find these types of men and women.

But there are also some less conspicuous places that you have to look if you want to find some of the most selfless heroes our community has to offer.

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Start with the house next door. Or the grocery store. Or church. Or the senior center. Or our schools.

Maybe the first step is to determine exactly what a hero is.

I’ve used this before, but the literal definition of the word deserves repeating. Here’s what the smart people at Webster’s have to say:

Hero — 1. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war. 2. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field.

Again this year, The Tribune needs the community’s help to find the best “Unsung Heroes” that our region has to offer so that we can do our part to change that and “sing” their praises.

We are looking for men and women who lead by example, make people’s lives better, inspire others to be better people and work selflessly to make a difference in our community.

I have said this before too, but heroes come in all shapes and sizes, all background and occupations, all races and religious beliefs.

A hero may be the senior citizen who sacrifices of herself to help a neighbor who got a little behind on the bills.

A hero may be the businessman who works 60-plus hours a week but still finds time to be active in a civic club, church activity or other community project.

A hero may be a mother or father who has always worked hard to provide for their family, overcoming all the challenges along the way.

Each year The Tribune features a handful of your local heroes in our Profile edition, the largest and most-read newspaper we publish each year.

Once again, we need you to help us find individuals who deserve this honor and recognition.

We have gotten some great ones so far but welcome more submissions.

Look for the entry form in the newspaper of send nominations to:

“Unsung Heroes” c/o The Tribune; P.O. Box 647, Ironton Ohio 45638. Or e-mail them to me directly.

Nominations must include your name, address and phone number, though this information can be requested to be withheld from the newspaper. All anonymous nominations will be rejected.

We’ve extended the deadline to Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Our Profile edition is a special project that means a lot to the community, the newspaper staff that has put months of hard work into it and the hundreds of advertisers who have helped us showcase our entire region.

We may not be able to feature every person but we will try our best to get as many in as possible and choose the ones that stand out from the rest.

Having too many heroes to honor is a good problem to have.

True heroes can be hard to find because they often work behind the scenes and don’t seek the spotlight. And that is partly what makes them heroes in the first place.

So, who are your local heroes? Are you ready to remove them from the ranks of “unsung” so they can be recognized for all they do?

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.