On Tuesday, July 19th we honored 8 Everyday Heroes at our Annual “Night of Heroes” Event. The RARE Everyday Hero Program is dedicated to inspiring Michigan’s youth through Everyday Heroes. The prestigious award celebrates the lives of everyday people in the workplace who through extraordinary commitment, courage, compassion, and integrity are changing lives and inspiring others.
This year, over 350 scholarship applications were submitted by students across Michigan and five students were awarded $2,500 college scholarships. Their heroes were in turn, honored alongside three other heroes nominated by local business professionals.
Editorial & Public Affairs Director of WXYZ-TV 7 and WMYD-TV 20, was nominated as an Everyday Hero by our own Kris Marshall for his unwavering commitment to providing a platform for organizations and individuals who do good within the community. Stokes has received a Lifetime Achievement Award and is a board member for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation, Reading Works Detroit, and Midnight Golf Mentorship Program. He is also a part of the teaching faculty at AOJ’s Minority Writers Seminar.
Rock Ventures LLC Business Development Director Matthew Roling plays a key role in many of the urban revitalization initiatives being spearheaded by Rock Ventures while also serving as the board chair of the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program. Additionally, Matt serves on the Economic Development board of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. Matt says one of the most rewarding things he has done was being a key contributor to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s effort to raise the awareness and funds necessary to test and adjudicate a backlog of over 11,000 untested sexual assault kits from 2013- 2015.
Hughes was nominated by Jennette Smith, Editor of Crain’s Detroit Business. Jennette got to know Hughes when she was under consideration for Crain’s 40 under 40. Laura is Vice President of Communications and Community at Strategic Staffing and dedicates a third of her time to Detroit issues. She is on the Executive Committee of the Detroit Public Safety Foundation, the Nominating Committee of the Michigan Humane Society, is Board Chair of Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC), and on the Detroit Institute of Arts Founders Junior Council.
Hairstylists at Continental Cuts in Taylor, Michigan, Michelle Eccleton was nominated by Riverview Community High School Senior Jacqueline Helstowski as her Everyday Hero. In her winning essay, Jacqueline says that, “Mrs. Eccleton is a model for others on how simple gestures can make a real difference.” Michelle has been a Sunday School teacher for years and is founding member of the former “Aunt Betty” group at Faith United Methodist Church.
Gerald Provencal retired just this year from Macomb Oakland Regional Center as Executive Director but made a lasting impression on one particular student before he did. Natalia Jenuwine, High School Senior at International Academy nominated Provencal as her Everyday Hero. Through MORC, Gerald has succeeded in serving over 5,000 disabled people in 12 counties in Southeast Michigan and has left an enduring impact on the treatment of the intellectually disabled both locally and globally. In her heartwarming essay, Natalia says that Provencal, “reveals that a hero does not necessarily have to save lives, face villains, or endure mortal peril: rather, a hero sees something wrong and makes it right at all costs.”
Loyola High School Teacher Kathryn Gross, was nominated by her student, Zavian Harriday as his Everyday Hero. In his essay, Zavian says, “Mrs. Gross is always searching for new ways to do good for other people.” Gross encourages her students to serve their communities and to support troops by assigning tasks to students such as sewing neck pillows for veterans in Hospice, writing letters of appreciation, and raising funds to put trash cans on the main streets outside of Loyola High School to give people the opportunity to throw things away in the trash instead of on the ground.
City of Wyandotte Police Officer Joseph Carr was nominated as an Everyday Hero by Flat Rock High School Student Danielle Winger. In her essay, Danielle says, “Whatever career I choose in life, I want to help my community and make an impact on people just like Mr. Carr does. He is a brave man who will risk his life to protect others. He loves his job and will do everything in his power to make our world a safer place.”
Tena Timmer, retired RN, was nominated by her grandson, Kyle Timmer, Calvin Christian High School Student, as his Everyday Hero. “My grandma’s commitment to helping people throughout her life is why I see her as an Everyday Hero, her focus on putting others first shows me that anyone and everyone can be a hero.”