Who are your Everyday Heroes? It's time they got some credit.

Eric Lyttle
Columbus Monthly

Who is your hero? Chances are it’s not the newsmaker you read about in the newspaper or this magazine. If you’re like me, your hero is someone much more personal. In my case, my wife is my hero on the heels of a successful year-long battle with breast cancer. From the shock and fear of the initial diagnosis through the months of debilitating chemotherapy to the physical and emotional pain of a mastectomy, she’s defined courage and pride every day. That includes Wednesday when the nurses on the fourth floor of the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center burst into the room cheering and shaking pom-poms as my wife finished up her final treatment.

We met lots of heroes in the past year and saying “thank you” didn’t seem like enough as we walked out of the Spielman. They deserve more, whether they seek it or not. Most of the time, they don’t. But our lives here in Central Ohio are infinitely better because they’re our neighbors.

Everyone has a story like ours, whose lives have been touched, improved or saved by an unsung hero. They deserve gratitude, and we want you to tell us about them.

Toward that end, the Dispatch Media Group, of which Columbus Monthly is a part, is launching “Everyday Heroes,” a project that will bring to the forefront those unsung citizens of Central Ohio. We’re asking readers to nominate their Everyday Heroes of Central Ohio here. Nominations will be accepted through April 14.

The project will involve all of our publications — The Dispatch, Columbus Monthly, Alive, Columbus CEO, Columbus Parent and ThisWeek Community Newspapers.

"In a metro area of more than 2 million people, we know that there are hundreds of heroes out there," Dispatch Editor Alan D. Miller wrote in a column on March 5. "They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, colors and political persuasions. And one of their many beauties is that none of that matters. What matters is the size of their hearts and their contributions to society.

"At a time when we all could use some good news and a reason to unite around a cause, this provides an opportunity to do both. So please tell us about those who have impressed you with their quiet, yet noteworthy contributions to others."

Ray Paprocki, publisher and general manager of Dispatch Magazines, said the time is right for this project.

"We live in polarized, divisive times, yet there are many people who are working to heal, unite and improve our communities in ways that may not make headlines," he said. "We want to tell their stories and celebrate their extraordinary selfless acts."

After the nomination deadline of April 14, a panel of editors and others will read through the nominations and identify a group of about two dozen semifinalists to highlight in a publication that will appear in The Dispatch in September.

And the panel will identify five people whose extraordinary selfless acts set them apart. All of the finalists and semifinalists will be invited to a special event in the fall to celebrate them and name one as the Everyday Hero of the Year.

The nomination form is available online atDispatch.com/everydayheroes.