ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — If you're ever in despair about the amount of negative news in your community, just look to these people.
They lift up others. Make our community a better place. Stir us to be compassionate.
They're our Everyday Heroes.
And they may be humble about their work, but it's a big deal to us.
In a weekly segment, Spectrum Bay News 9 introduces you to a different local hero who's making a difference in our community. Then, at an annual luncheon, we bring all of the year's Everyday Heroes together to honor them and show them their efforts are appreciated.
Here's where we need your help. One of the awards we present at the luncheon is the Viewers' Choice. That's right — you decide one of the award-winners.
We've narrowed the list to four finalists, and we're asking you to choose who you think deserves the 2019 Viewers' Choice honor.
1. Read each article, watch attached segments
- Gabriella Gillen: She may only be a teenager, but Gillen has literally been volunteering for most of her life. Recently, she developed a kit for foster kids to get them through their first night in a new home.
- Hal Ott: The Ruskin veterinarian may have opened the county's only no-kill animal shelter, but his lifetime of service to humans began as a visit to Haiti almost 20 years ago.
- Paula Stano: Her mission began innocently enough, as correspondence between a Marine mom and her son at boot camp. When her son wrote that some of his fellow recruits weren't getting letters, she sprang into action.
- Linda Walker: The compassion that the cofounder of a Hillsborough transitional shelter for women coming out of correctional institutions comes from personal experience. She was once shown the true meaning of hope, and now, she's dedicated her life to paying that forward.
2. Vote in our poll
The poll will go live 12:01 a.m. ET Monday, January 6, and will close 11:59 p.m. ET Sunday, January 19.
Other awards that will be presented at the luncheon include:
- Young Hero of the Year
- Public Service Hero of the Year
- Education Hero of the Year
- Health Advocate Hero of the Year
- Volunteer Hero of the Year
- Hero of the Year
Thanks for your input, and catch our weekly Everyday Hero segment each Monday.
(Note: Spectrum Bay News 9 reserves the right to make the final selection in Viewers' Choice voting.)