One of my favorite things about being a State Senator is having the opportunity to honor and recognize all of the amazing people who make our community so special. That’s why years ago I started what’s called my Unsung Hero Awards, where I try to recognize people who have performed heroic deeds or an extraordinary act of kindness. Below you’ll find info on some of the past award winners. I’m honored to have met and worked with so many of these heroes.
June is described as a “young-at-heart grandmother.” She is very active in the community, including as a member of the Zion Baptist Church in Ardmore. June, working with other community people, has been instrumental in putting together a community project called “Boxed Lunch and a Book” which provided 2000 free lunches and books for school-aged children
For the past ten or more years, Gloria has single-handedly coordinated the Toys for Tots Drive in Haverford Township. She makes sure businesses in town have collection boxes, that the local fire companies are invited to assist, and most importantly, does the shopping for the kids. According to her nominator, she has taken this crusade on each holiday season and has increased the donations from Haverford Township every year.
Rochelle Culbreath is an unsung hero in the Norristown community. She is a fierce advocate for the people in her community and for the community itself. She is always willing to lend a helping hand and does so with a smile on her face. She is a leader, a good friend, a helpful neighbor, and everything that an unsung hero should be.
John is a volunteer at the Montgomery County Senior Adult Activity Center every single day, Monday-Friday. He has been helping with the Meals on Wheels program for about 10 years now, driving, packing meals and coolers, and helping in whatever way he possibly can. He even waits around for the drivers to get to the center so he can help them get the coolers to their cars! He has helped cover the meals on wheels route numerous times. He is described as one of the most generous, hardworking people that you’ll ever meet.
Enlightened with a clearer understanding of the stigma, misconceptions, and discrimination that individuals with disabilities and their loved ones face, Brooke has spent several years strategizing how to influence change surrounding these issues. She, along with dedicated and inspired community members, has acquired a vision of acceptance and inclusion that will continue to grow in the Greater Philadelphia area. As a united group, their team has designed a community space, the GET Café in Narberth, that fosters diverse and inclusive programs to foster successful community and social inclusion for individuals of all ages and abilities.
Devon Grievous and Marcus Stokes
A fire broke out on the stove top at 515 Buttonwood Street in Norristown, and it threatened the home. With courage and composure, Marcus and Devon heard a neighbor’s call for help and responded. They ran to the home and ensured that all of the occupants were safely evacuated and that 911 had been called. Together, they extinguished the fire on the stove top and limited the damage to the home. We thank and recognize Devon and Marcus for their heroism and selflessness.
The Late Dalbert Harrison
Dalbert Harrison passed away in December, however, his nominator described him as a hero. He helped to clean up the Carver Center and was helpful with the Center’s support programs. He always made sure the pool was open. If he was not at the Carver Center, he could be found at Oak Street Park, cleaning up the park and taking care of the leagues that were playing there. He never missed a Council meeting and was always helping someone. We remember Dalbert Harrison in fondness and honor him as an unsung hero.
Barbara has dedicated the last 40 years of her life to helping hundreds of people in need. She started helping refugees who had come here from Cambodia to find a better life in America with nothing. She and her husband constantly bring much needed food, water, clothing, and more to homeless people in center city. She has had a family stay at her house when they had nowhere else to go and recently helped a blind disabled woman with two children when they lost their home.
According to her nominator, Barbara is deserving of recognition for all of the acts of kindness she has done for so many years and continues to do. She is truly a unique and very special person.
Steve started as an active volunteer with ElderNet of Lower Merion and Narberth in 2015, taking participants to the grocery store, doctor, and bank. When Steve becomes engaged with a participant, he transcends the simple act of volunteering and develops relationships with people. For many of the people Steve works with, he becomes a source of caring support that they otherwise would not have. Steve has also become a source of support to the staff of ElderNet and joined the Board of Directors last year and has taken on the role of Treasurer this year.
Diane has been described as one of the very best things about Upper Merion. According to her nominator, she is the person who you know you can always count on to help – with pretty much just about everything. And if she can’t she knows someone who can. She is always on the right side of every thorny situation – and she is always willing to confront the hard stuff with grace, reason and a true sense of fairness. Diane is good through and through and is willing to always step up and do things most people choose to ignore without ever asking for anything in return, the very definition of an unsung hero.
14-year-old Lily Walker is an athlete; her passion is running, and she was the captain of both her track and cross-country teams in middle school. Lily also volunteers, often spending her time helping kids with special needs.
Sadly, Lily has been battling brain cancer and has had to undergo several surgeries and chemotherapy. Nevertheless, she continues to show courage in the face of adversity.
Aidan is an extraordinary young man. He continually puts others before himself. While his friends are playing video games and sports, he’s sounding Taps at military funerals and playing the cell bedside for patients at the VA Hospital. He used his own money to buy supplies to make care packages for the homeless. It takes a very special person to demonstrate this much compassion and understanding and when that person is just 13 years old, it gives us hope for the future.