Announcing the First Our Town, Our Heroes Winner!
By: Stevie Hoey
March 18, 2011 11:44 am CT
We’re excited to announce the first winner of the Our Town, Our Heroes program! All of our finalists had amazing stories that show why each and every one is a hero.
With more than 2,600 votes cast, the public has selected Jennifer VanHoutan as the first Our Town, Our Heroes winner! We are happy to recognize Jennifer and her involvement with Noah’s Hope to help find a cure for Batten Disease, as well as her fierce dedication to her family.
In order to continue to do good in her community, Jennifer will receive a special “Hero Package” that includes a week-long loan of a brand new 2011 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle; all compliments of General Motors. Annie Farnaus, who nominated Jennifer, will also receive a week-long vehicle loan for her efforts to recognize someone who is making a difference and inspiring others in her community. When contacted about the news she had won, Annie was so touched by another one of our finalists’ stories that she offered to donate her loan to this hero finalist, so that she, too, could share in this experience.
Read more about Jennifer and why she was nominated below. Remember too, that we will be honoring local heroes throughout 2011. Nomination forms for the second round of finalists are due no later than Friday, March 25, 2011.
Jennifer VanHoutan from Downers Grove, nominated by Annie Farnaus
Hero: “a warrior of special strength, courage, or ability”. That defines Jennifer VanHoutan; mommy to Noah(6) and twins Laine(5) & Emily(5). Life was perfect, twin daughters and a big brother to look after them. In 2009 their lives changed in a way nobody could imagine. Noah was diagnosed with Batten disease; currently no cure, ending in death, between ages 8 and 12.
Five months later Laine was also diagnosed. Jennifer gives each child the same amount of attention; insisting that they have as normal of a life as possible. Promising to do whatever it takes so that no other family has to experience this, all while pouring herself into www.NoahsHope.com to benefit both Noah & Laine, and for Emily who watches as her siblings travel on this difficult journey. She inspires her family, friends and community, and I look up to her in more ways than she will ever know.
Know someone like Jennifer? We want to hear about your heroes! A hero can be anyone who is making a difference in his or her community. It can be a local firefighter or policeman, a soldier serving his country, a local volunteer donating her time and resources, and anyone else who makes a difference, whether big or small. Nominate them for the Our Town, Our Heroes program today! We would love to feature you and your hero on DrivingtheMidwest.com.
Congratulations again to Jennifer VanHoutan and Annie Farnaus – you’re our heroes!