|By G. Michael Dobbs|
Do you know an unsung hero someone who is making a difference in your town or neighborhood?
Reminder Publications would like to know who these members of our communities are. We are seeking nominations for our fourth annual Hometown Hero awards so that we may recognize and honor these special people.
Nominations will be accepted for outstanding members of the following cities/towns: East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Hampden, Wilbraham, Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, South Hadley, Granby, West Springfield, Agawam, Westfield, Southwick and Ludlow.
There are two categories citizen and businessperson.
The awards were created by Co-Publishers Chris and Dan Buendo to honor their late mother, the company's co-founder, Anne Buendo.
"We know there are hundreds of people out there making the communities of Hampden and Hampshire Counties better places to live each and every day," said Dan Buendo. "These awards allow people to know that what they do is appreciated."
The recipients must live in the communities served by Reminder Publications. All nominations are due Nov. 4 with the winners announced on Nov. 25.
The winners will be honored at a special social hour held in February. These Hometown Heroes will receive a plaque, a feature story in our publications, and a donation in their name to the charity of their choice.
You can mail forms to Reminder Publications, Inc. 280 N. Main St. East Longmeadow, MA 01028, attn.: Hometown Hero; fax nominations to: 525-5882, attn. Hometown Hero. Nomination forms may also be dropped off in the East Longmeadow office during normal business hours.
This year, nomination forms can be sent through the company's web site. Go to www.reminderpublications.com and click on the "Nominate Your Local hero" button.
I was speaking to Chris Cargile, the executive director of the Community Survival Center, at the open house of their new facility at 240 Main St. in Indian Orchard.
If you're not familiar with the Center, it has been serving low-income people for the past 22 years with access to nutritious food and good used clothing. The staff and volunteers manage to provide this service to people in Indian Orchard, Sixteen Acres, Hampden, Wilbraham, and Ludlow without state assistance.
Chris mentioned to me that the shelves are getting bare in her food operation and she has read there is some concern among smaller hometown programs such as hers that the tremendous national response to Hurricane Katrina might really affect local donations.
She hopes that others will be able to make contributions to both national and local efforts to help people.
Granted, money is tight for many of us and there are many good organizations locally that deserve assistance, but making sure the local agencies can still help our neighbors should still be a priority.
Whether it be Lorraine's Soup Kitchen in Chicopee or the Parish Cupboard in West Springfield, your support of local grassroots organizations is still needed and appreciated.
These are my thoughts alone and not necessarily those of the staff, ownership or advertisers of Reminder Publications. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA, 01028.