Tag Archives: Hometown Heroes Celebration

Who’s Your Hero? | Hometown Heroes Event Series 1

This post is a recurring series celebrating the heroes in our own community. As we count down to the 2016 Hometown Heroes Celebration, we would like to take a moment to recognize that while not all heroes are alike, all heroes impact our lives. Each year, the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, April 21 from 6:00PM-9:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information, please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

It occurs to me that the word “hero” may mean different things to different people. I hadn’t really considered the word other than in a lighthearted “you’re my hero” to my husband until I went to a fundraising lunch for a local nonprofit adult skills-training center.

The lunch speaker, a recent graduate, shared her life story and achievements as a single mother in her late thirties who lived in the inner city of Grand Rapids with her two boys. Life wasn’t easy; in fact, it was incredibly hard. Upon hearing about the school-to-work program, she decided she wanted more for her two boys and took a huge risk. While maintaining her low-paying day job, she signed up for the pharmacy technician program and worked hard each day to lift her family single-handedly out of poverty, graduating at the top of her class, and securing a well-paying pharmacy job in town.

As she told the story of her journey, she shared how she noticed the difference in her two boys. As they saw how hard she was working at school, they too became better students. She became a role model to her next generation and those around her as she changed her family’s economic trajectory.

As a mother myself, I listened to her story with tears in my eyes. Her hard work and perseverance became my inspiration. This woman, whose story lives in my heart even when her name has been forgotten, became my hero that day.

These are the heroes of our community, every community—these men and women who overcome almost insurmountable odds to provide their family a better quality of life. They may not get the public recognition they deserve, but these men and women make our community the great place it is today.

 

Ellie Frey Zagel is the Director of the Family Business Alliance and 3rd Generation Trustee of the Frey Foundation. She along with her husband and 2 year old son live in East Grand Rapids with their dog, Via. Ellie can be reached at Ellie@FBAGr.org.

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Hometown Heroes 2015 Profiles: Judge Sara Smolenski

smolenskiWe are continuing a series of posts highlighting the award recipients  for the 2015 Hometown Heroes Celebration put on by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, April 30 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

The American Red Cross of West Michigan is proud to honor Judge Sara Smolenski with the Mabel Boardman Spirit of Volunteerism Award. Judge Smolenski has proven her commitment to her community through the many services she provides including her active volunteer efforts.

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Hometown Heroes 2015 Profiles: Frederick Bw’Ombongi

View More: http://emilyraephotography.pass.us/wmrecc-5-28We are continuing a series of posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2015 Hometown Heroes Celebration put on by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, April 30 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

This year for our Hometown Heroes Celebration, we’re incredibly honored to recognize Frederick Bw’Ombongi for his contributions to not only the West Michigan community but also his efforts internationally. When I first met Frederick in his office at Spectrum Health, he was very humbled to be nominated for the Henry Dunant Global Impact Award, which recognizes an individual who has looked beyond their backyard to serve and improve the lives of people from around the globe. Frederick embodies this spirit and truly enjoys his work locally and internationally.

Hometown Heroes 2015 Profile: Sister Carmen Rostar

sistercarmenrostarThis week we are beginning a series of posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2015 Hometown Heroes Celebration put on by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, April 30 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

The American Red Cross is so pleased to present Sister Carmen Rostar with the Caroline Campbell Community Impact Award. This award honors an individual or organization that has made an extraordinary impact on the West Michigan Community.

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Local Heroes Making Global Impacts

While watching the refugees from Syria stream across the borders into refugee camps in neighboring countries – I am incredibly thankful for the life and the work of Henri Dunant.

After witnessing one of the bloodiest battles of the nineteenth century, Henry Dunant wrote a book entitled A Memory of Solferino. His vision of relief organizations providing care for the wartime wounded and volunteers corps to care for those injured in conflict led to the creation of the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and the original Geneva Conventions. For this work, he was a joint recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize.

Each year, at the Hometown Heroes Celebration, the American Red Cross of West Michigan honors community members who have demonstrated heroism through extraordinary acts of courage and kindness.  Our Heroes live their lives in the tradition set forth by our founding mothers and fathers.

The Henri Dunant Global Impact Award recognizes an individual or organization that has looked beyond their backyard to serve and improve the lives of people from around the globe.

Please help us tell the stories of the heroes in our community by nominating your hero today.

To nominate your hero visit: http://www.arcwestmi.org

THANK YOU!