Bril, Tom, Melissa, Sarah and Mike are the New Hero Finalists!
By: Stephanie Lewis
July 3, 2012 8:59 am CT
We are excited to announce five new Our Town, Our Heroes finalists in a special round dedicated to coaches and mentors! Whether as a sports coach, dance teacher, running coach or community mentor, Bril, Tom, Melissa, Sarah and Mike are all making a difference in their communities.
Read the stories of our current finalists below! You can vote once per day for the hero who inspires you most. Be sure to check out the official rules of Our Town, Our Heroes. Check back on Tuesday, July 10 for a voting update to see if your hero is in the lead!
Now meet our new hero finalists!
Bril Barrett from Chicago, nominated by LaTrice Barrett
Bril is a local hero because he works hard and taps harder. He dedicates his life to making a difference in the lives our youth and works to positively change his community. Bril started M.A.D.D. Rhythms as a volunteer program to keep children off the street, and it has since grown into a professional tap-dance academy. The first children helped by the program now instruct others at the academy. Bril stands to preserve and promote the art of tap to help others.
Tom Dellota from Skokie, nominated by Shijo Joseph
Tom has a special passion, drive and commitment to bettering the lives of people around him. Not only does Tom teach physical education, he is also a basketball and volleyball coach. Tom’s drive for perfection and discipline is second to none. He used his education, talent and skill to motivate his students to greatness. Tom is a driving force to his students in their academic, intramural and personal endeavors.
Melissa Stockwell from Chicago, nominated by Keri Schindler
Melissa is an Iraq war veteran who received a Purple Heart after losing her left leg above the knee to a roadside bomb. She has since gone on to compete in the 2004 Paralympic Games and is currently the two time world champion in Paratriathlon. Melissa went back to school after losing her leg to become a certified prosthesist, and she now helps other amputees become active. She is one of three cofounders of the dare2tri Paratriathlon Club in Chicago, an organization which helps many individuals with physical disabilities or visual impairments become active. Melissa provides the coaching to get these individuals across their first start and finish lines. She is a natural leader, motivator, mentor and friend. She is a home town hero for all the lives she has impacted.
Sarah Wille from Chicago, nominated by Vic Maurer
Sarah is a program mentor for Team M3, a student-mentor health and wellness running program that helps high school students from Chicago’s South and West sides train for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Using her personal passion for running, Sarah helps at-risk teens find their stride through running. When she’s not on the lakefront path with her students, you might find her enjoying the Field Museum, or at the Center for Elementary Math & Science Education.
Mike Younie from Aurora, nominated by Jen Clark
Mike exemplifies the best of Special Olympics. He is kind and gracious with his athletes and strives daily to teach and coach them to their fullest potential. Mike works tirelessly to give athletes quality experiences to enrich their lives on a daily basis. Not only has Mike has represented Special Olympics Illinois on a national level, but he also represented the organization during the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Greece. In addition to his work with Special Olympics athletes, Mike mentors other coaches and trains them in proper technique and coaching strategies. A husband, father, coach, mentor and friend to all, Mike constantly gives back and is the epitome of what a hometown hero should be.
Voting for this round of Our Town, Our Heroes ends Tuesday, July 17 at 5:00 p.m. CST. We will announce the winning hero Wednesday, July 18. Follow @DrivingMidwest for real-time updates about the program and to spread the word about your favorite hero! You can also find the new hero finalists on our Facebook page – visit Facebook.com/OurTownOurHeroes today and share the story with your friends, family and supporters.
Good luck to our finalists!