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Posted: April 30, 2013 9:02 p.m.

Hometown Hero 2012

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
~ Christopher Reeve

For the past three years, one of our major joys has been arranging a small breakfast and ceremony that includes some of our elected community leaders and a few folks who, in the past year, have done something unselfishly brave or incredible in our community.

Our partner in honoring such individuals is General Mills.

Just as in years past, this year we had some very special people who went way beyond what was expected of them, with no expectation of being noticed for their special deeds.

This year, the two finalists in our hometown hero search were Sylvia Ashong, a single foster mom — which takes courage in itself — and Lt. Jason Cripps of the Porterdale police force, who jumped into the icy Yellow River to save a 60-year-old man.

Ashong adopted three siblings as her own, three young children from a troubled home, in order to keep them together as a family.

She didn’t care what color they were; she only knew that she had plenty of love to give three young children who had spent their early lives receiving none. Lt. Cripps didn’t think twice about his own life as he saw a man floating by in the 40-degree water, already in a fetal death position.

Cripps jumped in, swam out and pulled the man to safety, even though this same man had threatened to kill Cripps in the past.

Cripps was named Hometown Hero for 2012. He joins 2010 winner Kelli Hopkins and 2011 winner Pam Dew as special neighbors who saw a challenge and answered the call without ever thinking that anyone would notice or that they would be called heroes for their actions.

We admire and salute both Sylvia Ashong and Lt. Jason Cripps, two hometown heroes who help make our home a great place to live and raise a family.

We also thank General Mills, a big corporation with a giant heart for the community.

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