Amy, Billy, Jeannette and Spencer are the New Hero Finalists!
By: Bethany Weis
October 2, 2012 9:02 am CT
The nominations are in – Amy, Billy, Jeannette and Spencer are the newest individuals being honored by the Our Town, Our Heroes program! We were thrilled to read the stories of how these four heroes are making a difference in their communities. Read on to read why their nominators think they’re truly inspirational – don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite hero!
Amy Bergeson from Chicago, nominated by Jenni Purdue
Amy walks into an un-air-conditioned classroom every day to give more than 30 third-graders an opportunity to achieve their dreams. Her unwavering commitment to her students and her school gives me encouragement and motivation in my life. Her energy gives inspiration to her peers, students and friends. Amy’s role as a selfless educator, who gives more personal time, energy and money to her career than any other professional I know, is why she is my hero.
Billy Brooks from Hillside, nominated by Bril Barrett
Billy has been a staple in the community since the 1960s and he is still going strong. During the 1970s, he helped start the free breakfast program because children from the community were hungry during school. He began as a community organizer and volunteer, and now he is the director of youth programs at the Better Boys Foundation (BBF). Just recently, he helped 10 kids graduate high school and get in to college. He has dedicated his life to working in the community and I am honored to follow in his footsteps. Billy truly makes a difference.
Jeannette Kravitz from Chicago, nominated by Scott Roos
Jeannette has inspired me from the day we met at an outreach meeting for the Peace Alliance. The first time Jeannette and I worked together, we successfully passed a referendum in the Chicago City Council to support the Department of Peace (DOP). We then created a Summer of Service program for Chicago Youth, encouraging kids to partake in community projects in Chicago’s poor neighbors. The participants were also challenged to interview strangers in Millennium Park, asking, “What does peace mean to you?” Jeannette turns her beautiful visions into action by engaging youth in a variety of programs and challenging them to promote cultural understanding and peace. Her latest project, the CanUDigIt.org campaign, advocates for healthy food access and spotlights childhood food-related issues. She is using her influence to address the diametrically opposed issues of obesity and hunger in America. Jeannette is a true action hero!
Spencer Rice from Naperville, nominated by Julie Dougherty
Spencer chose to leave a successful business with a fulfilling salary to help start a swim school in his community. A lifelong competitive swimmer, Spencer teaches water safety and swimming to children. For the past two years, Spencer has been a positive role model at Bear Paddle Swim school teaching children and adults that struggle to learn swimming basics. Parents have come up to him, some emotional, and said their child fell in a pool and knew how to stay afloat because of his safety courses. Concerned parents with children who have been unsuccessful learning to swim have come to him for help. Spencer has an amazing sense of patience and understanding of children of all learning abilities. The physical demand of being in the water all day can be exhausting, but Spencer says it’s all worth it if it will prevent a child from drowning. He is truly an inspiration.
Voting for this round of Our Town, Our Heroes ends Tuesday, October 16, and we will announce the winner on DrivingtheMidwest.com on Wednesday, October 17. Cast your vote once per day until voting ends, and be sure to follow us on Twitter and check out our Facebook page to help spread the word with your friends and family!
Good luck to the finalists! You’re all our heroes!