We have seen so many amazing nominations come in over the past several weeks. From nurses and first responders to working moms and teachers, we saw a variety of community heroes who deserve to be recognized for the differences they have made to their friends, family, and community. Making a difference does not have to be a grand gesture; it can be as simple as helping those who are in need of kindness. We wanted to highlight a few nominations that really stood out to us.
Cheryl has been a Kindergarten teacher for many years. Her nominator described Cheryl as kind, caring, selfless, and hardworking. She does so much to ensure that she puts her students and all others first, and she cares for each of her students as if they were the most precious thing in the world. When Covid-19 hit her community, it was devastating to everyone. One group of people that were especially affected by all of this were the children.
Cheryl’s nominator says that it has undeniably been an absolute blessing for her community to have a hero like Cheryl Stoyell. She has worked endless days and nights and has gone above and beyond to ensure that the children both in her class and in the community maintain high spirits and feel loved at all times. Even when she isn’t working, she has been calling children and writing them letters. She also video chats with some of them so she can follow up on new, interesting things that they want to show her. She also mails them fun gifts and stories to children who’s spirits have been low.
Her work at the school has been more valued than anyone could imagine. She has proven that it is possible to maintain the same level of individual care and support from a distance. She has done so much to better the lives of countless children throughout this pandemic.
When COVID hit, most people stopped volunteering due to fear of contracting the virus. Not Connie! Connie continued to cook her twice a month meals for Community Meals, even filling in for those teams that were unable to do their weeks. Connie partnered with local schools and went out to purchase groceries with her own money. Connie set-up donation boxes around town did live videos on social media about the need and went and picked up the food that was donated. Each week, not only is there a free hot meal, there are eggs, bread, milk, produce, and groceries for folks to take home and continue to cook throughout the week. Connie has successfully recruited a team to assist her (all volunteers), but none of this would have been possible without Connie seeing the need, creating a vision, and sharing that vision with others. Each week the need grows, but Connie never fails to let that stop her from ensuring no one leaves without something. Connie also delivers through Meals On Wheels to local seniors. Connie certainly knows that Home is Where the Heart Is!
Before and through COVID-19, Lisa has spent thousands out of her own pocket to provide food, hygiene supplies, clothing, and furniture to Tampa homeless and veterans. She describes herself as a warehouse/distribution center. People donate to her and she delivers those items to the needy. Lisa works a full-time job and then spends another full-time schedule nights and weekends picking up and delivering furniture, food, and clothing to people in need. She helps organize and host children’s holiday parties for her local community and does troop boxes for deployed veterans. She stores items in her own home as well as storage units she pays for herself. She cooks meals for the homeless and well as taking meals to their camps in the evenings and on weekends. This has not slowed down at all with COVID. She has helped the homeless find work, shelter, and even paid for car insurance for homeless mothers. She helps furnish homes for recently homeless who find housing, often by her hand. She advocates for the legitimate needs of these people, talking with service providers, local politicians, and law enforcement. She engages the community in a way that they rally behind her and supports her mission. Make no mistake, she is tough and no-nonsense but she is always giving.
Those are just a few of the wonderful nominations that we’ve received. The voting period has officially begun and will be live through September 27th. Have your say on who you think should win the Grand Prize of up to $10,000 in new flooring along with a room design consultation. Four regional $2,500 prizes will also be awarded.
The 10 nominees with the most votes nationally and then regionally will enter the final round of judging.
Be sure to vote for your favorite nominee!