What do these people have in common?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Betty Lou Hicks, John Hudson, Kathie Blankenstein, Andrew Calvit, Katherine Killelea, Arella Bacon, Kent Knee, Cindy Idom, Mary Toles, and Duncan McFarlane — 10 Miss-Lou residents, but what do they have in common?

Well, let’s take them one by one.

Betty Lou Hicks — From cemetery tours to Cathedral Fall Festival, Hicks has stayed busy over the years. Hicks has been an active volunteer in Natchez for years, and a even more devoted mother and grandmother.

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John Hudson — A county judge by occupation, Hudson’s work with children doesn’t stop when the youth court doors close. In fact, often it’s just beginning when he heads to Jefferson Street United Methodist Church youth group function.

Kathie Blankenstein — The Natchez Garden Club, the Children’s Home and New Covenant Presbyterian Church are just a few of the groups and organizations Blankenstein has been a big part of over the years. Most recently, she was the heart of a movement to raise the funds needed to restore the Memorial Park fountain.

Andrew Calvit — Most known for his work with Habitat for Humanity, Calvit has also been an integral part of the Natchez Chamber of Commerce and the Natchez Business and Civic League over the years.

Katherine Killelea — Killelea was just a teenager when she began working with the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund, and it wasn’t until her senior years that she quietly stepped aside, guiding others to carry on the legacy.

Arella Bacon — If you want to list the clubs Bacon is a part of, you’d better have some time. The list is longer than 20, but most notable is her formation of the Ruritan and Ruriteen service clubs in Adams County.

Kent Knee — Athletes don’t make it through the ranks at Trinity Episcopal School without passing through Knee’s notebooks. The stat keeper for the school is truly devoted to the students and the school.

Cindy Idom — You can’t step foot in West Primary School without seeing an Idom smile. The school’s principal is always friendly, always welcoming. And the little ones are truly her heart.

Mary Toles — Surely Toles is enjoying some down time about now. And it’s long overdue. A civil rights activist, Toles sat on a justice court bench in Natchez for 25 years before retiring this year.

Duncan McFarlane — McFarlane works alongside Calvit at most Habitat houses, but he’s also been involved with the United Way and the Friends of the Library.

Got it figured out?

Ten folks, all involved, all kind and all giving. But I’m looking for something more specific than that.

You may struggle to lump them into one category, since many on the list represent various organizations and clubs in town but they aren’t all a part of any one group.

They simply share a title — Unsung Hero.

Each of the 10 folks named were chosen — sometime between 1991 and 2007 — as an Unsung Hero in The Democrat.

Once a year, our staff — with help from all of you — picks a Citizen of the Year and several Unsung Heroes.

This year’s recipients will be published in a special section on Feb. 24.

But first, we need some nominations.

Unsung Heroes are chosen based on written nominations from the public. So begin thinking of those around you that always go the extra mile. Who is always involved but may not always get the credit?

Write down a few sentences, or more if you’d like, telling us who the person is, what they do and why you think he or she is an Unsung Hero.

E-mail, mail or drop your nomination by to me at the e-mail address below or at P.O. Box 1447, Natchez, MS 39121 or at 503 N. Canal St.

We will need all the nominations by Feb. 13, so start thinking.

We’ll contact the chosen heroes and tell them of their honor, the nominators can remain anonymous if you like.

Many have come before, but I know there’s still plenty out there yet to be named.

Julie Finley can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.finley@natchezdemocrat.com.