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Nominate the heroes around you

Nearly 250 Miss-Lou residents have been nominated and chosen as Unsung Heroes since 1986.

Almost all of them initially tried to deny their hero status.

But with the exception of just a few, those heroes finally acquiesced and accepted the honor bestowed upon them by those who nominated them and our committee of folks here who made the final choice.

But 250 is only a small drop in the bucket when it comes to measuring the number of local residents who routinely go out of their way to better the lives of those around them.

So as we accept nominations for heroes this year, I have no doubt the community will deliver another strong batch of candidates to our doorstep.

The title of Unsung Hero was one The Natchez Democrat began giving to deserving citizens decades ago.

In recent years, we’ve taken nominations in December, January and early February and announced the final list of heroes on the last Sunday of February.

The process will be the same this year, and we’ve already received several nominations.

An Unsung Hero is defined as someone who makes a difference in the community around them, but never seeks attention for their work and tends to stay behind the scenes.

I’m sure you know quite a few.

Your hero may be a neighbor who picks up trash along the roadways, a friend who visits shut-ins or cares for the sick or a co-worker who works with seemingly every non-profit group in town.

Anyone can submit a nomination and any local resident can be nominated.

To nominate someone as an Unsung Hero, simply send me an e-mail or letter, drop off a note or give me a phone call. Please include in your note or phone call a description of why the person is an Unsung Hero, what groups with which you know them to be involved and any other details you think are pertinent.

If you have contact information for the nominee, please include that as well.

The deadline to submit all nominations is Feb. 10.

After the nomination period closes, our staff will review the nominations and narrow the list to eight heroes.

I’ll then begin the process of breaking the news to the heroes, who will first think I’m joking, then lying, before they try to refuse the honor and remain “unsung.”

I’ve gotten quite persistent in recent years, and feel confident I’ll finally convince these do-gooders to accept a little recognition their friends and family know they deserve.

Aside from coming to our office for a quick photo, the process should otherwise be painless for the heroes. Of course, those used to avoiding the limelight may view it differently.

The winners will be published along with a story on our 2012 Citizen of the Year and our annual Profile special section on Feb. 26.

Send your nominations to me at: unsungheroes@natchezdemocrat.com or Unsung Heroes, The Natchez Democrat, P.O. Box 1447, Natchez, MS, 39121.

You can also drop a written nomination by at our 503 N. Canal St. office or call 601-445-3551.

If you’d like for your identity to remain unknown to the person you nominate, just say so, but I would like you to include your name and phone number in case I have a question for you.

I’ve gotten to know many of the 250 heroes over the years, but you know 250 more, I’m sure.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.