An Everyday Hero is someone who goes out of their way to make a difference in the Twin Cities. Whether it’s a person who volunteers at a food bank, coaches little league, visits nursing homes, keeps a local park clean, or someone who stepped up and helped an injured person in need. At Sun Country we know that Everyday Heroes don’t look for recognition from their local community, but we still want to honor them. Sun Country Everyday Heroes is a program designed to recognize and honor people in our communities who go above and beyond to help others out in times of need, often with little or no recognition.
Sun Country will recognize a new Everyday Hero each week by awarding them with a Sun Country Airlines travel voucher valued at $500, redeemable for Sun Country Airlines flights or vacation packages. Each Everyday Hero story will be highlighted by Dez and Ryan from the KS95 Morning Show, 5 Eyewitness News Morning News and Twin Cities Live (KSTP-TV, Weekdays 3-430p)!
You’re encouraged to nominate a friend, fellow employee, relative or someone you recognize in the community who you believe is an Everyday Hero. Simply fill in the nomination form and describe in 250 words or less, how your nominee goes above and beyond to help out in your community.
Meet Jenna from Minneapolis! Jenna volunteers for the non-profit Firefighters for Healing which supports injured firefighters, burn survivors and their families. Every year Firefighters for Healing hosts a camp in Cross Lake for kids that have experienced traumatic burns. Camp Red is free for those who attend, but behind the scenes Jenna works hard to raise funds so the camp and healing can continue. She’s described as the type of person that just “gets things done.” Thank you Jenna!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Jenna:
Reona is the founder of the African American Breast Cancer Alliance, which was started thirty years ago when very few organizations addressed breast cancer concerns in the African American community. The organization promotes the benefits of early detection and treatment and also provides emotional and social support for breast cancer patients and survivors. A cancer survivor herself, Reona dedicates herself to provide love and support to others in her community. Thank you Reona!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Reona:
Meet James from Cottage Grove. Eleven years ago James heard that Cottage Grove Park High School was looking to start a robotics team. But had no one to lead it.
A mechanic by trade James stepped up to run it. The first year of the program his students were named Minnesota Rookie Team of the Year at the state robotics competition.
A decade later, James continues to run this program as a volunteer dedicating hundreds of hours to these students.
Some of the kids that were on James’ robotics team are now working for companies like 3M.
Hear more about Everyday Hero James:
Meet Joyce from Saint Paul. She founded Project Bear Hugs. A program that delivers stuffed animals to patients in hospitals and nursing homes.
Joyce also volunteers for a long list of organizations including The Salvation Army, Union Gospel Mission and the American Cancer Society.
This June Joyce will represent Minnesota in the National Ms. Senior United States Pageant in Las Vegas. She plans to use her Sun Country travel voucher to fly to the pageant.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Joyce:
Meet Natasha from New Richmond, Wisconsin. She is the Director of Community Health Improvement at a local hospital.
She organizes wellness program for patients, schools and the community.
Like healthy freezer-meal prep classes and a community-wide walking challenge for families called Dash to Disney. The grand prize is a trip to Disney World.
Natasha is also involved with programs to reduce the stigma around mental illness pushing to get people in her community talking about this issue.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Natasha:
Meet Troy from Hastings. Troy has been called an angel by his neighbors, coming to their aid during this past winter’s worst snowstorms.
He handled snow removal for several of his neighbors who were unable to do it themselves, put down salt and kept the sidewalks clear and safe.
During a particularly bad snow storm this year, Troy removed snow three times in a single day!
In the summer months, Troy also helps out with mowing lawns.
His neighbors want him to know how much they cherish his help and presence in their community.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Troy:
Meet Gwyn from Ham Lake.
Gwyn learned how to make soft, whimsical yarn wigs from watching YouTube videos and following online patterns then shared the skill with her friends. The group creates magic in the lives of children battling cancer by hand making wigs and beanies of popular characters from kids movies and cartoons, and distributing them to local hospitals to brighten these kids day.
Last year Gwyn had a goal of 50 wigs by November and she far exceeded her goal by completing 100 wigs. So far this year the group has created over 80 wigs and 40 beanies.
Do you know someone like Gwyn?
Hear more about Everyday Hero Gwyn:
Meet Sheri from Lindstrom. She founded a non-profit organization called For Jake’s Sake.
The foundation honors the memory of Sheri’s son, Jake, who died in 2013 from a drug overdose.
Now Sheri is working with legislators at the state capitol to pass Jake’s Bill, which would implement a curriculum in schools across the state to teach young people about the dangers of drug use.
You can learn more about Sheri’s mission by visiting www.ForJakeSake.org.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Sheri:
Meet Suzy Scheller, an elder abuse attorney who founded an organization called Elder Voice Family Advocates. The group works to strengthen laws that protect Minnesota’s senior-living community and brings together families whose loved ones experienced harm or neglect in a senior-living environment. These volunteer members give comfort and support to each other and a voice to vulnerable seniors. Suzy will use her sun country travel voucher to visit her family in Alaska!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Suzy:
Meet Jamil from Saint Paul. He’s a social worker who focuses on social justice issues.
Jamil also mentors young men in the community. He organizes weekly tutoring groups, often giving kids a ride and providing food so they can attend the study sessions. Jamil’s wife, Sara, says her husband gives so much of his own time and money to the kids he mentors because he genuinely wants to see them succeed.
When Jamil’s colleagues and friends saw the work he was doing for others they were inpsired to help, too.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Jamil:
Meet Joe, a Hotel Maintenance employee who braved bad weather to ease the mind of a family that was in town for a surgery. This past January, Joe went ABOVE AND BEYOND when he found out a family staying at the hotel wasn’t going to make it on-time for their procedure due to delayed transportation. Joe braved the elements and drove the patient to the hospital himself. The surgical staff at Gillette Children’s Hospital want Joe to know they think he is awesome!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Joe:
Meet Diana from Fairbault. She is the founder and director of a non-profit called ‘Infants Remembered In Silence’. She started this organization after experiencing the death of her own child. ‘Infants Remembered In Silence’ is dedicated to helping parents who have lost a child by providing access to the most valuable resources and support systems to help them cope.
She is honored to be recognized and is looking forward to a vacation! She is so grateful for this award and will use her Sun Country travel voucher to travel someplace warm! Thank you Diana!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Diana:
Meet Trace from Anoka. Volunteering is not only a passion of his but, a way of life. He is the Chair of his volunteer program at work, where he coordinates community events such as Donation Drives. As well as a volunteers for a job readiness program, teaching food safety courses to help people prepare for jobs in the food service industry. Although he enjoys helping build strong communities, he will use his Sun Country travel voucher to fly somewhere relaxing! Thank you Trace!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Trace:
Jeff is the founder and director of a non-profit called Stewardship Ways. It is an organization dedicated to help Minnesotans incarcerated in our state prisons find a new path of sobriety, responsibility and hope.
Jeff uses his own past experiences with addiction and incarceration to show inmates that there is a choice and a path toward healing.
Jeff is honored to be recognized and excited to travel with Sun Country!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Jeff:
Meet Emily from White Bear Lake. Emily is a fifth grade teacher in St. Paul who loves to play and also coach sports! As a volunteer coach, she often spends her own money to transport her student athletes to games.
Emily has also traveled to Myanmar, Egypt and Tunisia to teach softball to girls in those countries. While these experiences fill her heart, they are hard on her pocketbook.
She is so grateful for this award and will use her Sun Country travel voucher to travel to her football playoff games. Thank you Emily!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Emily:
Meet Laurie from Le Center who runs a non-profit called His Haven Ranch. The horse ranch provides a safe environment where kids and adults who are emotionally vulnerable can interact with horses and learn to ride. Laurie connects with the riders and helps them connect with the animals to foster healing. Laurie’s daughter tells us her mom dedicates hours to this organization and has a heart of gold. She will use her Sun Country travel voucher to fly to Phoenix, Arizona and visit family!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Laurie:
An Everyday Hero is someone who goes out of their way to make a difference for others like Jeff from White Bear Lake. He used his own wedding as a way to drive donations for those in need refusing to get married until his friends, family and town filled a truck with food for the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf. He collects toiletries and supplies for the homeless and organizes toy drives for the children’s hospital. Jeff says he’ll travel to New Orleans with his Sun Country travel voucher. Thank you Jeff!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Jeff:
Meet Tom, nominated for his work with the Minnesota Hockey Recreation League! The Rec League is committed to offering players a low cost hockey alternative. Tom’s own kids have been out of school for several years, but he stayed involved with youth hockey making sure all kids have the opportunity to play. After so much time in a cold rink, Tom will use his Sun Country travel voucher to fly somewhere warm! Thank you Tom!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Tom:
Meet Senta from Minneapolis. She is a champion for Minnesota’s homeless. Everyday she fights for the thousands of children, families and seniors across the state who do not have shelter. She works to fund homeless shelters and build more affordable housing options. Senta is honored to be recognized and plans to use her Sun Country travel voucher to fly to New Orleans! Thank you Senta!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Senta:
Meet Lecia from Minneapolis who found a unique way to help the homeless. She founded a theater company where housed and homeless performers that take to the stage and tell stories. The experience changes the lives of the performers and the audience. Lecia plans to use her Sun Country voucher to visit a friend in Denver Colorado! Thank you Lecia!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Lecia:
Meet Ray from Hudson, Wisconsin. Nominated by his neighbor Rebekah for his help with everything from home repairs to snow removal. Rebekah says he does it all with a smile, great humility and kindness. Ray says he’ll use his Sun Country voucher to head somewhere warm and sunny. Thank you Ray!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Ray:
Meet Diana from Isanti. She was nominated by the building manager of her apartment because she’s always willing to lend a hand to others by providing rides and babysitting. Diana is excited to use her Sun Country Voucher to fly to New York with her best friend and see Niagara Falls! Thank you Diana!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Diana:
Meet Angie from Champlin. One cold day last winter, Angie was driving to work and stopped to offer a ride to a woman who was walking slowly with a walker. The woman, Tara, had cerebral palsy and was headed to her job. A year later Angie still helps Tara get to and from work – and the two have become close friends. Thank you Angie!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Angie:
Meet Claire, she’s a foster parent for children with severe disabilities. Since the 1970’s Claire has brought in over 75 children and provided them with a safe, secure, and loving home. Claire and her kids also participate in adaptive sports, which help children with disabilities stay active through team competition.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Claire:
Meet Lindsey, a nurse practitioner who studied at Saint Kate’s in Saint Paul and now travels abroad…providing medical care to refugees. Currently, Lindsey is in Lebanon setting up a local clinic, and training its new staff.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Lindsey:
Meet Scott from Rosemount. For 23 years he has volunteered as a fire-fighter and first responder with the local fire department. When the call for help comes in – day or night – Scott responds. You might also see Scott at a Minnesota Twins game this summer where he is a first aid volunteer. Thank you Scott!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Scott:
Meet Kathy from Cold Spring! She started a non-profit called The Healing Grounds which offers caring, confidential grief support to anyone in need. Through this group Kathy and other peer-certified grief care providers have helped many people cope with their personal losses. Thank you Kathy!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Kathy:
Meet Kraig from Eagle Lake. Kraig has taught special education for 25 years, and his dedication to students doesn’t stop at the classroom door. Kraig has been known to come home from work without his winter jacket, or sometimes his gloves, or even his hat because he gave them to a student in need. Thank you Kraig!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Kraig:
John and Cindy
This week we recognize John and Cindy from Saint Cloud. After losing their son Tanner at the age of eleven to cancer, John and Cindy created a non-profit called Tanner’s Team. They raise money to help other families facing similar struggles. They are true heros to many. Thank you John and Cindy!
Hear more about Everyday Hero John and Cindy:
Meet Mishka! She co-founded an organization called Mile in my Shoes which introduces people – who may be homeless – to the power of running by pairing them with a Run Mentor. They create a sense of community and connection by running together. Thank you Mishka!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Mishka:
Meet Cindy, a teacher and principal at an alternative learning center. In the classroom Cindy is a mentor and cheerleader. She helps students who struggle with addiction, abuse and everyday issues that cause them stress and anxiety. Cindy is described as a true hero to the students she supports. Thank you Cindy!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Cindy:
Kate and Tyree
Meet Katie and Tyree! They provide emergency foster family care, often on short notice, to children in Hennepin County. With love filled hearts, they open their doors. From snuggling babies to helping with homework, Katie and Tyree dedicate their lives to helping children deal with challenging situations. Thank you Katie and Tyree!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Kate and Tyree:
Meet Shannon from Richmond! After losing her son Nicholas to pediatric cancer in 2011, Shannon and her husband Erik founded the NPK Hero Foundation which supports Minnesota families affected by pediatric cancer. Shannon works to bring hope to families facing the same situation she did. Thank you Shannon!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Shannon:
Meet Kimberleigh – she started the Friends Helping Friends Formula and Diaper Shelf in Hudson. In just eighteen months, she’s helped provide over five hundred local families with infant formula and diapers. Kimberleigh’s husband Jacob even helps deliver the items to families that cannot drive to pick them up. Thank you Kimberleigh!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Kimberleigh:
Meet Mike and his golden retriever, Keb. Keb is a Therapy and Emotional Support Dog, who is specially trained to navigate hospital settings. Mike takes Keb to hospitals and nursing homes to visit patients; “they always have a smile on their face, when Keb comes into the room.” While Keb is the star of every visit, Mike is working behind-the-scenes to put Keb in front of people he can help.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Mike:
This week’s everyday hero is Bruce Krogstad. Bruce and his wife Mary have been married for sixty two years. They volunteer together delivering meals to people in need. Bruce also volunteers through his church as a Grand Friend, spending time with grade-school aged kids as a surrogate grandparent. Thank you Bruce!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Bruce:
This week’s Everyday Hero is Karen Eckstrom. She works in healthcare with low income elderly adults and often goes above and beyond the scope of the job. She has paid out of her own pocket for client groceries and care packages. She has also organized clothing drives to give warm weather clothing to people who can’t afford it. Thank you Karen!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Karen:
This week’s Everyday Hero is Laura Howard from Bloomington. Laura volunteers with Warrior Dog Rescue to foster dogs and find them adoptive homes. Her own dog, Miles is also a certified therapy dog who visits hospitals and nursing homes with Laura after she finishes her shift as a registered nurse.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Laura:
Jenna is a middle-school math teacher in Shakopee. In addition to teaching, she organizes a “grandparents lunch” for student families every year. Jenna and her husband, Brad, also both volunteer their time to the Lonsdale food shelf helping neighbors right in their community.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Jenna:
Rochelle is a kindergarten teacher who was nominated by the mother of a former student named James. James’ mother tells us that Rochelle helped her learn to be an advocate for her son. She helped her find the right resources to help James succeed in his upcoming school years. But perhaps the best compliment of all, this mother says: “Thank you for teaching me how to be a better parent to James.” To Rochelle, and all teachers, we thank you!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Rochelle:
Carrie wears many hats – mother, wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, niece, cousin, cherished friend, and businesswoman. She is described as a “kind, warm human being.” Soon she’ll wear another hat – kidney donor. Carrie is donating a kidney to her aunt. For that reason, and for all the hats she wears, Carrie is an Everyday Hero.
Hear more about Everyday Hero Carrie:
Dale embodies exactly what it means to be an “Everyday Hero.” He has donated hours of his time to helping others through Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, his church, and the Children’s Weekend Food Program. Dale is described as a “blessing to his community.” Thank you for all you do, Dale!
Hear more about Everyday Hero Dale:
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