Indian Creek Middle School student Katlyn Williams was named Hometown Hero Wednesday by The Covington News and General Mills.
In its sixth year, the Hometown Hero award is presented to a Newton County citizen or employee who acted in a heroic manner to help others.
Any citizen The Covington News comes across who acts in a heroic manner is nominated as a Hometown Hero, the person then goes to a public voting process, and is selected by our readers.
"We honor someone who goes above and beyond without expecting anything in return," said T. Pat Cavanaugh, Publisher of The Covington News.
One person who didn't expect or ask for anything was Williams. In early 2014 Williams lost her grandfather Joseph Cimon to Parkinson's, a few months later in March her 13th birthday arrived. Rather than look forwward to receiving gifts from her 55 invitees, Williams decided to tell them not to bring gifts but to donate to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Thanks to her selflessness Williams raised $800 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the American Parkinson's Disease Association.
Parkinson's is a disease Williams wants to help fight due to the condition she saw her grandfather in.
"He couldn't remember family members, and he was really a smart man. He was a professor at the University of Mississippi," Williams said.
The other finalist for the Hometown Hero was Marine Corporal Bryce Burton.
Burton won a national award at the 2014 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation dinner for his film "Commitment" about Sgt. Gallegos, who had suffered second- and third-degree burns from an accident in Iraq. But after a six-year recovery period, which included 156 surgeries and physical therapy, Gallegos reenlisted in the Marine Corps. He started school at Camp Lejeune to become an administrative clerk.
The short film chronicled what it was like to walk in Gallegos’ shoes.