A special group of people in central Virginia got a surprise Wednesday morning. The law firm Allen & Allen is recognizing people across the state for being "hometown heroes".
Each hometown hero has a unique and inspiring story of giving back to the community.
This year's winners in central Virginia are:
Karen Dolan of Gordonsville
Helen Krespach, Cheryl Parks and Doctor Robert Selden all from Charlottesville
Jorge Rosario from Palmyra
Mike Sheridan from Kents Store
Susan Stevens from Shipman
See the press release below for more information on the winners.
Click here to see the Allen & Allen Hometown Heroes video announcement.
The NBC29 newsroom received the following press release from Allen & Allen:
Local Charlottesville-Albemarle 2012 Allen & Allen Hometown Heroes:
Karen Dolan, Gordonsville
As a volunteer for Book Baskets, Karen works tirelessly to provide books to low-income children in the Charlottesville area. Book Baskets has distributed more than 10,000 books since July 2010 with 95% of all donations going toward buying books. The Community Dental Center alone has given out more than 11,000 books, received from Book Baskets, in the past six years. But books aren't Karen's only priority. She is the Vice President of Toy Lift which is run by the Kids Lift Foundation, whose focus is to support local families through volunteerism, community cooperation, morale building and educational tools.
Helen Krespach, Charlottesville
Helen lends her support to a home for brain-injured people by cooking her delicious French food as well as contributing financially. She is also active in her church as a Eucharistic minister and groundskeeper, and in her neighborhood preparing and sharing meals, driving friends to appointments, and sharing her vast knowledge of gardening.
Cheryl Parks, Charlottesville
This amazing woman has been a champion for children for decades. Actively involved for years in the Fresh Air Fund in the Charlottesville-Albemarle Area, Cheryl organizes the host families for disadvantaged children visiting from New York City in the summer, giving inner-city children the joy of a summer vacation. For the last two years, she has also fostered premature twins who have thrived in her care, thanks to her love and devotion. Cheryl does all of this compassionate work humbly, without seeking an ounce of recognition.
Jorge Rosario, Palmyra
Jorge believes in giving back to the community. Over the years, he has held charity events to help Habitat for Humanity, the Children's Hospital, and several individuals with serious illnesses. Jorge has done whatever he could to support and help local businesses survive during the recession. "He is the type of person who is willing to help everyone, whether he knows them or not," says his nominator.
Dr. Robert (Bob) F. Selden, Charlottesville
As a pediatrician at UVA specializing in cystic fibrosis in the 1960s, Dr. Selden helped found Camp Holiday Trails, a camp for children with chronic medical illnesses. He travelled throughout the state establishing clinics to treat cystic fibrosis, most notably in Virginia's more rural regions. Bob's presence at the Camp over the last several decades has been one of quiet strength. He never asks to be a leader, never pretends to have all the answers, and continues to learn. In this way, he is a mentor to everyone around him.
Mike Sheridan, Kents Store
"If you need help, all you have to do is ask Mike and he will be there," writes his nominator. Outside of his job as a coach and teacher at Fluvanna Middle School, Mike is able to fit in at least 40 volunteer hours a week. A great asset to Fluvanna County, he is founder of Helping Hands in Fluvanna, a volunteer firefighter, and a leader of his church's youth ministry. In the community, Mike serves as a father figure to many children who don't have a father and is viewed by many as an angel sent to protect, comfort, and lead Fluvanna.
Susan Stevens, Shipman
When Susan lost her father to cancer, she found a way to have a positive impact on the lives of others struggling with this disease. Actively raising funds in the fight against cancer for the past few years, she has also co-founded the Giving Hope Foundation with fellow Nelson County resident Sheila Layton. The Giving Hope Foundation gives emotional and financial resources to Nelson County residents facing a cancer diagnosis, including goodie bags, assistance with bills, and medication or groceries. Perhaps most importantly, this organization provides a "buddy" for emotional support.