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hometown heroes

12 Heroes honored for their contributions to Peoria community


The Heroes came out in spades to be honored Feb. 20 at the Rio Vista Community Center in Peoria.

Independent Newsmedia celebrated its third annual Hometown Heroes program with a luncheon, which was attended by friends, family and dignitaries.

The Hometown Heroes Awards are a celebration of individuals who live or work in the city, and Peoria businesses for their local achievements and distinguished contributions to the community.
Independent Newsmedia President and CEO Charlene Bisson opened the event, and Peoria Councilmember Brad Shafer spoke.

"A hero is someone who takes all the goodness inside themselves and projects it outwards for the benefit of others," Shafer said.

Video interviews of the Heroes were produced by members of the city’s communications team, as well as Peoria Unified, and were shown at the event.

Peoria Independent News Editor Philip Haldiman presented the awards.

The 12 Hero nominees were featured with a story in the Peoria Independent and at YourValley.net over the last year, which culminated in a luncheon sponsored and catered by Dillon’s Kansas City BBQ.

The following Heroes were honored at the event. Photos incluce Haldiman, who presented the awards.

• Lifetime Achievement, Vicki Hunt: Long standing community member who has consistently stepped forward and exemplified a passion for giving back to the Peoria community. To be in the Lifetime Achievement category, the nominee must have dedicated at least two decades of service to Peoria.

• Trailblazer, The Hope Effect, Joshua Becker (pictured) and Joe Darago: Individual or company who launches a path for others to follow through on new endeavors.

• Healthcare, RaeRae of Light, Amy Norris: Influential professional who is a leader and provides topnotch care for the community, or awareness on an important medical issue.

• Educator, Megan Cox: Teacher who has inspired students beyond their own learning expectation.

• Emergency Responder, Sarah Trieu, first female Peoria motor cop: Person who steps forward during an emergency in Peoria, or blazes a path for others.

• Spiritual Leader, Gavin Linderman, Axiom Church: A spiritual leader who displays good works in the Peoria community.

• Community Cheerleader, Rosalind Shanley: Individual who rallies and organizes positivity for the community.

• Mentor/Coach, Bobby Gonzalo, Peoria High School: Person who works with, and is a role model for the younger community.

• Veteran, Tad Snidecor, Veteran Advisor Corps: Former military person who served or continues to serve within the Peoria community.

• Volunteer, Lori Jensen, Just Serve: Person who has donated their time and skills to assist or improve the community.

• Entrepreneur, Joey Lucidi, Westside Concepts: An individual who launches an idea into a new business and serves the community.

• Leader of Tomorrow, Cougarjade Reyes, Peoria Unified (18 or younger), was unable to attend: Youth who shows leadership and involvement within the community.

The premium sponsor for the event was BNC National Bank. Business sponsors included Nothing bundt Cakes and Copper State Pavement.

Other sponsors were: American Tax Service-Brian Baker, Dobash Plumbing, Lilly Home Care,  The Links Neighborhood Grill, Rain Gutter Express, Touchdown Sportswear & Promotions, Arizona Rattlers, Filiberto’s Mexican Kitchen, Grease Monkey-Lake Pleasant Rd., The Peoria Independent and www.yourvalley.net, Nothing bundt Cakes, Alycan Design Medispa, Arizona Rattlers, The Peoria Independent and www.yourvalley.net, Lake Pleasant Cruises, Lilly Home Care, Peoria Diamond Club, Rain Gutter Express.