There are heroes among us.
There are heroes who are obvious: the people who place themselves in danger to keep us safe, like firefighters and police; heroes that save lives with CPR and emergency medical techniques.
And, then there are those you might not immediately think of when you are asked to identify hometown heroes. They walk among us every day, and yet their subtle, often unsung, deeds deserve the thanks and respect of a grateful community.
For the most part, they are volunteers, who devote their time and their energy to making life better for others, whether the beneficiaries are at the beginning of life, in the middle of life, or nearing the end. Their contributions can be as simple as holding the hand and providing comfort for someone in distress or offering children a chance to expand their horizons.
Their only reward is the satisfaction of doing something to improve the lives of others, and in turn, improving the community in which we live.
Today, the Times Observer is publishing a special section devoted to "Hometown Heroes." It is by no means a complete listing, but merely a tiny sample of people without whom our community would be a poorer place to live.