Hometown Heroes

Queen Creek Hometown Heroes celebration illustrates foundation of community stewardship

Inaugural event offers thoughts from those who put others first

Posted 8/30/21

The people who make Queen Creek special were honored at the inaugural Queen Creek Independent Hometown Heroes event Tuesday, Aug. 24.The luncheon event took place at Heart Cry Church, 9339 W. Hunt …

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Hometown Heroes

Queen Creek Hometown Heroes celebration illustrates foundation of community stewardship

Inaugural event offers thoughts from those who put others first

A view of the first group of 2021 Hometown Heroes honored at the Aug. 24 inaugural Hometown Heroes Celebration at Heart Cry Church, 9339 W Hunt Hwy.
A view of the first group of 2021 Hometown Heroes honored at the Aug. 24 inaugural Hometown Heroes Celebration at Heart Cry Church, 9339 W Hunt Hwy.
Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey
Posted

The people who make Queen Creek special were honored at the inaugural Queen Creek Independent Hometown Heroes event Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Each month, Independent Newsmedia featured a Hometown Hero in the Queen Creek Independent designed to recognize the people who were working to make Queen Creek a community.

The monthly recognition were sponsored by the East Valley Institute of Technology, Queen Creek Olive Mill and Sterling Services.

The award lunch celebrated the individuals and businesses identified for their local achievements and distinguished contributions in Queen Creek.

The Hometown Heroes for 2020-21 are:

  • Jerry Baca: volunteer
  • Erica Ballesteros: entrepreneur
  • Nick Hansen: emergency responder
  • Molly Jacobs: educator
  • Chris Knutsen: community cheerleader
  • Dr. Alexander Matheson: health care
  • Adam NeVille: mentor /coach
  • Mark Schnepf: lifetime achievement
  • James Skiotes: veteran
  • Alyson and Elyzabeth Small: leaders of tomorrow
  • Elena Thurston: trailblazer
  • Pastor Billy VanCamp: spiritual

Vito LoPiccolo of Brooklyn V’s Pizza provided an Italian buffet, and dessert came courtesy of Queen Creek Olive Mill. Awards were sponsored by Rogers Family Enterprise.

With about 100 members of Queen Creek community, the inaugural event honoring local Hometown Heroes resonated with those who attended. This is what some had to say:

Name: Marie Leigh
Organization: Heart Cry Parishioner and nominator of Pastor Billy VanCamp

“Shout out to the Queen Creek Independent for putting on a wonderful awards luncheon honoring our Hometown Heroes… Many amazing community members were recognized and honored for their distinguished contributions and achievements, but I have to give some special love to Erica Ballesteros, CEO of the Change Project (Entrepreneur Award) and Heart Cry’s very own Pastor Billy VanCamp (Spiritual Leader Award). Mark Schnepf said it best when he shared how important these types of events are in keeping our community connected and united.”

--- Marie Leigh

Name: Nick Hansen
Organization: Town of Queen Creek Fire Department and award recipient

“Today, myself along with 11 others, were honored to be a part of the 1st inaugural Hometown Heroes Award Luncheon. It was a FANTASTIC event and really showed just how amazing our (formerly) little Town is capable of. Congrats to all winners!

--- Nick Hansen

Name: Rita Ezzai
Organization: Florence Unified School District

“Just wanted to give you a pat-on-the-back and say GREAT JOB today! It was such a lovely luncheon!”

--- Rita Ezzai

Name: Dawn Oliphant
Organization: Vice Mayor, Town of Queen Creek

It was a great event. Thank you for highlighting the amazing people in our community.”

--- Dawn Oliphant

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